House Armed Services on South Asia Strategy CSPAN October 3, 2017 1:04pm-4:20pm EDT
there will be more testimony from former equifax ceo richard smith as he appears tomorrow before the senate banking committee. that will be at 10:00. then on thursday he appears at 9:30 eastern testifying before the house financial services committee. both of those hearings by the way on c-span2, c-span.org or linen the free c-span radio app. go live now to capitol hill as defense secretary james mattis and general joseph
doneford testifying on a military strategy on south asia that includes india pack tan and afghanistan. this hearing is just getting underway. >> these fundamental issues do need to be discussed openly for the american people and for those who have sacrificed over the last 16 years. that's the reason we are here today. mr. smith. >> thank you mr. chairman. and i think the chairman raised all the questions that need to be raised. this is offense a revery difficult part of the world. we clearly have national security interests in how afghanistan is governed and pakistan as well. going back to 2001 when the then afghanistan government led by the taliban allowed al qaeda to have safe haven to plot and plan terrorist attacks against the u.s., including 9/11. making sure we don't return to toes days is clearly in our national security interests. what is not as clear is how we
do that and what the cost is of our current effort. afghanistan is a very difficult place to govern. i think one of the things that concerns most members this committee and most people in the country is we understand that it is a from jail situation. we have been hearing that. as the chairman mentioned for 16 years. if we are there for another 20 i envision whoever is sitting in those seats at that point would be having the same conversation. i think that's my one big question, how do we get to the point where we can reduce our commitment in afghanistan so it is not an open-ended commitment and a blank check? the president said that in his remarks when he rolled out his strategy that it wasn't going to be open-ended, wasn't going to be a blank check. absent from that is what that meant, and how we would go about achieving that worthy goal. that's my biggest question. the second question to be would be that while granting there are risks in pulling out, there are obviously risks in staying there. what happens under the two
different scenarios? because it is would be great if be great withf we were able to bring our troops home and the longer we stay the less it moves us to the solution we want. are we envisioning a prolonged stalemate where we cannot leave because if we do it will get worse or do we think we can get beyond prolonged stalemate. which is paraphrasing one of the questions the chairman asked. those are questions we are most interested in. i thank both of our witnesses for being here and obviously their tremendous service to our country w. that i yield back. >> mr. secretary, general, thank you for being here. we will turn the floor over to you. >> chairman thorn bury, ranking member smith distinguished members of the committee i appear before you following the tragic event in las vegas. the department of defense is staying closely linked with the intelligence community and we remain alert to law enforcement's assessment of events. you, on this committee, are
keenly aware of the complex and volatile security environment our country faces today. russia continues to invest in a full range of capabilities designed to limit our ability to protect power, erode u.s. influence, and undermine nato's transatlantic alliance. china is focused on limiting our ability to project power as well and weakening our position in the endopacific region even as we work the find common ground on north korea's provocative actions. the united nations is focused on the destabilizings threat by posed by north korea and kim jong-un's relentless pure suit of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities. the defense department supports fully secretary tillerson's effort to find a diplomatic solution but remains focused on defense of the united states and our allies, per president
trump's orders. in the middle east, iran continues to project malign influence across the region. while we continue to make gains against the terrorist enemy in syria, iraq, and elsewhere, in afghanistan we have faced a difficult 16 years. general nicholson, our nato and u.s. field commander, with troops from 39 nations, has blunted the terrorist's offensive moves in afghanistan. nato strikes and support of improveding the afghan security forces and disarray amongst enemy groups have caused the taliban to expend resources constrain their movements and limit the taliban's ability to conduct major offenses. beginning last month and for the first time in this long fight, all six afghan military cores are engaged in offensive operations. during these recent months, there have been fewer civilian casualties as a result of coalition operations, although,
regrettably, taliban high-profile attacks on civilians continue to murder the innocent. while the taliban still attempts to seize district or prisonsal centers before the end of this fighting season they have generally been forced into decentralized small scale ambushes and the use of improvised explosive devices. importantly the rate of afghan national security force casualties has reduced from last year. as you know, i just returned last week from a trip to india and afghanistan. and can report that general nicholson and the it inno team are holding the line. forecasts of a significant taliban offensive remain unfulfilled. violence and progress do coexist in afghanistan. but the uncertainty in the region and the nato campaign has been replaced by certainty due to the implementation of president trump's new south asia
strategy. this strategy has been welcomed almost uniformly by leaders in the south asia region as well as the 39 countries contributing troops to the nato-led campaign. we must always remember, we are in afghanistan to make america safer and ensure that south asia cannot be used to plot transnational attacks against the u.s. homeland or our partners and allies. our goal is a stable and secure south asia. a political settlement in afghanistan is only possible if the taliban reject support of or conduct of terrorism. based on the intelligence community analysises and my own evaluation i am convinced we would absent ourselves from this region to our ultimate peril. our new conditions-based approach has set the stage for
regional and afghanistan national change. our new strategy vigorously reviewed and approved by president trump is, quote, r 4 plus s, unquote, which stands for regionalize it, realign it, reinforce it, and reconciliation, coupled with sustaining it. the first r, to regionalize it, recognizes challenges exist beyond afghanistan and adopts a geographic framework with a holistic comprehensive view. india, pakistan, iran, russia, and china were considered at the outset rather than focusing only on afghanistan and then introducing external variables late in our strategic design. my visit last week to india was, in part, to thank them for their continued generous development support in afghanistan. we also discussed ways to expand
our collaboration to improve long term regional stability and security. we will firmly address pakistan's role. nato's demands need to be heard and embraced in islamabad. the second r, to realign, signifies that we are shifting our main effort to align more advisors who can provide training and advisory support at the battalion and brigade level. the fighting will continue to be carried out by our afghan partners. but our advisors will accompany tactical units to advise and bring nato support to bear when needed. make in mistake, this is combat duty for our troops. but the afghan forces remain in the lead for the fighting. we have now approximately 11,000 troops in afghanistan alongside 6,800 from nato and coalition
partners, and 320,000 afghan national security forces. from these numbers, you can see the afghan forces remain the main effort. and we are supporting them, not supplanting or substituting our troops for theirs. the third r is reinforce. and that is seen in our addition of over 3,000 u.s. troops arriving in the coming months to extend nato's advisory effort to afghan troops that are currently without. nato secretary general stoltenberg and i toured afghanistan last week sending a message of the nato coalition's unity. he is also reaching out to our allies to increase their troop levels. in light of our new strategy, 15 nations have signalled that they will increase their support. again, certainty now having replaced uncertainty, we are looking to our partners to provide more troop and financial
support. the last r is reconcile. and that's the desired outcome from our military operations, convincing our fellows that the coalition is committed to a conditions-based outcome, we intend to drive fence sitters and those who will see that we are not quitting this fight to reconcile with the afghan national government. our goal is a stabilized afghanistan, achieved through an afghan-led, afghan-owned peace process. war is principally a matter of will, and the international community is now making clear that it will stand alongside the afghans committed to this fight. as we have shifted to a conditions-based strategy, not time-based or troop-number focused, ambiguity has been removed. all this will be carried out by, with, and through, our afghan
partners, and within the collation framework, ensuring this campaign is politically, fiscally, and militarily sustainable. our afghan partners, who continue to take the lead, fight most effectively where nato and partner advisors are alongside them. as president gani said to the united nations general assembly in new york, afghans are determined to fight. no one should mistake our will to defend our country. i am heartened and impressed by the international reception to our strategy. i am confident we will see heightened levels of support from our allies and partners in the months ahead. as nato secretary general stoltenberg said last week in kabul, this is about making sure that afghanistan doesn't once again become a safe haven for international terrorists, and the best way of doing that is to enable the afghans to have defense security forces which are strong enough to do that. we're already starting to see
the psychological impact of this new stree, both militarily in the field as well as through president gani and the afghan government's commitment to reform. president gani recognizes that fighting corruption and accelerating institutional reform across government are critical to success. the recently launched u.s./afghan compact outlining more than 200 measurable benchmarks for reform demonstrates our shared emphasis on these goals. our south asia strategy reinforces to the taliban that the only path to peace and political legitimacy is through a negotiated settlement. it is time for the taliban to be forced to recognize they cannot kill their way to power, nor can they provide refuge or support to transnational terrorists who intend to do us harm. i want to close by recognizing the need to maintain the closest possible dialogue with congress,
and specifically with this committee. this committee is long appreciated that the defense caps mandated in the budget control act impose the greatest inhibitor to our defense. without relief from the bca caps our air, land, and sea fleets will continue to erode our path to modernization will be short changed, and our technological competitive advantage lost. i trust i'll have your support for lifting the defense spending caps as we address today's complex and increasingly volatile national security environment. thank you. >> thank you. general dunford. >> chairman, ranking member, distinguishes member of the committee. thanks to the opportunity to join secretary mattis in providing an update on the south asia strategy. in recent months our commander in afghanistan described the current condition in the country as a stalemate. secretary mattis has testified that we are not winning. members of this committee have made similar statements. this situation has developed
since the nato mission in afghanistan transitioned to an advisory effort. since 2015 we have advised and accompanied afghan special operations units at the tactical level but our advisory evident for conventional forces has been limited to the afghan army core and institutional level. we also reduced the aviation artillery and intelligence support provided to the afghan forces. this construct did not provide afghan conventional forces with the support they needed to succeed in combat operations. my military assessment is that we drew down our advisory effort and combat support for the afghanistan forces too far and too fast. as a result, the taliban expanded territorial and population control and inflicted significant casse ultsd on the afghan army and police while we lost campaign momentum. last spring, secretary mattis directed the department to conduct a detailed failure analysis to identify the root
causes for the lack of progress in afghanistan, and he directed we provide targeted solutions. informed by these findings our commanders developed and secretary mattis approved a new operational approach to break the stalemate and bollster afghan capabilities. the new approach supports the president's broader strategy by expanding our advisory efforts to the tactical level, increasing the combat support we provide to our afghan partners and enhancing authorities. we believe these adjustments will improve the ability of the afghans to conduct offensive operations, and reduce of began casualties. the emphasis is on providing effective support to the afghans we have trained and equipped so they can secure their own country. going forward we will support president gani's efforts to reorganize the afghan forces which will expand special operations units while at the same time reducing less effective units. we will also continue to develop
a capable, sustainable afghan air force. finally we will enhance and expand our own counter-tichl operations in the region. by next spring this approach will have our most senior capable and operationally experienced leaders advising at the decisive point in afghan operations. there efforts will be fully enabled by the support and the authorities they need to take the fight to the enemy. that is specifically for the afghans to take the fight to the enemy. we are also tackling corruption, the single latest roadblock to progress. in our judgment our military objectives for this new strategy are clear and achievable. the first is we defeat isis and al qaeda in afghanistan and we ensure other terrorist groups are unable to launch attacks against the homeland, u.s. citizens, or our allies. we are going to further afghan forces that are capable of managing the residual violence with limited international support. we will support president gani's effort to ensure that key
population and economic centers are secure. and we'll provide an enduring counter-terrorism partnership with afghanistan to prok our shared interests in south asia. as secretary tillerson ream outlined this entire effort is intended to put pressure on the taliban and have them understand they will not win a battlefield victory so they will enter an afghan-led peace process to end the conflict. with that, chairman, auto. a ready to take questions. >> i appreciate it, sir. . i guess i went to just basically have one question. a former military commander in afghanistan directed me to this editorial written by former u.s. ambassador to afghanistan, ronald neumann. it appeared in the "washington post" on august 9th. the first paragraph says, in theory, u.s. strategy in afghanistan has been to train an afghan army that can fight al
qaeda, the taliban, and the islamic state. and then largely to withdraw. after 16 years, it's not surprising that many people think that strategy has failed. in fact, it hasn't really been tried. and then he goes through a brief history of our efforts or lack of efforts, of deadlines, of not meeting commitments and so forth and concludes by saying that much of the rush to failure has been washington driven. and so i guess i would like each of you to comment on the extent to which the lack of stability in approach, the lack of stability in commitment, the stack of stability in funding as we begin the ninth consecutive year under a cr, to what extent those wash-driven aspects have
contributed to afghanistan not being a success. so far as we will like it to be. >> chairman, war is primarily a matter of willpower. and what we have to demonstrate based on where the situation is it the is an impackable will that the international community, and that means america first among all of them, is going to stand by this effort. that has to do withstanding by certain policies, standing by the afghan military, standing by budgets that give predictability so we keep our own military strong of it's all part of setting a cohesive framework within which we can achieve tangible results and not face what ranking member smith rightly is concerned with, a
prolonged stalemate. when you set timelines you are telling the enemy what you will not do. we will not fight past a certain day. when you set troop caps, you are saying what you won't do. and i believe right now the most important thing is to let the enemy know they are not going to win. that's because we now have over 300,000 afghan forces in the field that through some very severe fighting have earned our support as we try to drive this toward an end of this war, toward reconciliation. chairman? >> chairman, you and many members of the que committee have visited afghanistan multiple times. and i know on each of the visits one of the issues that's been raised is hedging behavior. edge hadding behavior by the taliban, hedging behavior by regional actors, in particular pakistan. one of the primary drivers of that hedging behavior that was inhibiting us in actually making progress in the campaign was a lack of certainty and a lack of confidence that the u.s. commitment to international coalition commitment would be
enduring. and particularly for four or five straight years there was always a sense, and it's been described as kind the y 2k effect in afghanistan. there was always a sense that when december came the coalition would depart. i think one of the most significant stranges in the strategy with conditions based is it leverages the center of gravity, the source of strength, which is the confidence of the afghan people and the confidence of the afghan forces. on the flip side it unmines the confidence of the taliban because they are not trying to deal with us or wait us out. as secretary mat it is said it is a clash of wills. they now realize that will the 300,000 afghan soldiers and police that have been built they are going to have the resources they need to defeat the taliban and bring them to the table. i think my judge of how the edge hadding back here in washington and lack of clarity has affected
the campaign. >> thank you. >> following up on that question, you are right, we have had timelines, troop caps. we have also consistently exceeded those troops caps and consistently gone beyond those timelines. if the taliban were actually paying attention at some point they would nom to the to rely on those. what you have outlined is what we have been hoping for 16 years, if we stay long enough in great enough numbers afghanistan will be able to defend itself and we won't need to be there anymore. i think the lack of confidence to that, and i hope the editorial that i witnessed is correct. what does reconciliation look like? when do the taliban come to the table? like i said what i think we are looking for is some confidence. let's say we do a conditions based and we do all this stuff? for how long? i'm not looking for a one year, two year, two years, 12 months exactly. but what are the factors that
give you confidence that we won't be in the scenario that i just described that even if we do this more open-ended commitment that we won't be having this same conversation 20 years from now. this is not afghanistan's first time at this. as everyone knows, people have come and gone from afghanistan for a very long time and i get the feeling as far as the taliban are concern we could come in and say we will there for 50 years and they will say fine, we will be there for 51. what is the confidence that you have that this change to address not whatever shortcomings might have been in previous administrations strategies but the reality of afghanistan and pakistan? >> congressman, we -- men and women in this world live by hope. they hope tomorrow is going to be better. the taliban can hope repeatedly that whether we overstayed what time line we gave ourselves, we have still said we are leaving as soon as we can. what we are saying now is there is going to be an end to the war. it is a going to end because we
don't want the threat to america. we don't want the threat to our allies. the best way to do that as the secretary general put it is make sure the afghans have a force that can deal with this internally. certainly it's going to take ourmentors what reconciliation looks like. it goes back some years in terms of the conditions. but it's afghan led. it involves the taliban rejecting terrorism and supporting people who have attacked this country. it involves them to quit killing, to stop killing the afghan people and live by the constitution. that's a pretty low bar if they choose to rejoin the political process. if they don't, we are going to make it extremely uncomfortable for them by training, advising, assisting the afghan forces. and i think what we don't want is some transient success. so we push this forward in a way, in an implacable way, because that's the surest way to enthis faster rather than
stringing it along. if that addresses your question. >> it does to some degree. i understand my question is unanswerable past a certain point of the we don't know what it's really going to take to break the taliban. but that does put us in the position. i guess put it one different way. when the president says no blonk check, no open-ended commitment, what does that mean? where does the check stop? where does the commitment stop? >> one point is, sir, that secretary general stoltenberg, when he was getting off the plane, when we came out of theater, said he's going back to brussels to build more support. in other words we are going to have more pulmoaligned with us in terms of financial and troop contributions -- people aligned with us in terms of financial and troop contributions because of t of the certainty we have
replaced the uncertainty with. we cut back too soon. we pulled the training wheels off the bike before it was really ready to be balanced and move against the taliban. this was a concern from our intelligence agencies when we pulled all of our forces down to the level they were at. and so we are going to have to make up for it. and we have to inherit where it lies now. but it's not an unending commitment. you will see a degrading number of american forces, a declining number of american forces as you see an improving capability on the part of the afghan forces conditions based. >> understood. and i know that congressman yoens is next and he will drill down on this in much greater degree than i did. so i'll let that go. the only other question i have, it's largely rhetorical but i would nonetheless like your response, as you mentioned at the conclusion of your remarks the budget caps that the department faces and the crs that have been presented to you have been one of the factors
that have made it difficult to maintain a consistency of commitment to afghanistan. if we were to reduce revenue by $1.5 trillion over the course of ten years, would that not make it just a little bit more difficult to provide the department of defense the money that it needs to do what it needs to get done? >> chairman, probably someone with better financial background than myself could give a better answer. i would just say that as i understand the process right now,' to reduce the taxes to build the economy and the growth is going to accrue more government revenue. but this is not an area that i would call one of my expertise. >> fair enough. and i know that is the hope. there is no credible economist, even conservative economists say that that's absurd under our
current scenario that somehow if you cut taxes dramatically for everybody you are going to magically end up with more money. if the top rate was 90% or we had a capital gains rate of 66% and we were cutting it down from there -- but cutting it from where we are at to right now, making a commitment to our national security and reducing the revenue by at least $1.5 trillion over ten years is i think significantly inconsist t inconsistent. that is a point i will return to at other hearings. i yield back. >> thank you mr. smith. we are going to proceed. chairman thorn bury has gone to the floor to vote so that the committee can continue meeting, and then as soon as he returns, obviously we are going to proceed. at this time, we now have mr. jones of north carolina. >> mr. chairman. thank you, and mr. secretary, and general, thank you as well. i wrote to president trump on july 18th, asking him to please
come to congress and ask us to have a dt on a new aumf. i used a sentence from one of his tweets i would like to read. let's get out of afghanistan. our troops have been killed by the afghanistanis we train and we waste billions there. non-sense. rebuild the united states of america. that's his tweet. not mine. in addition, to brings me to this general mattis, in a politico article in august of this year titled "trump administration opposes effort to reign in war powers" they quote, and this sentence is -- i'm not quoting you, but makes reference to you. that sentence appears to contradict comments by mattis, who has endorsed passage of a new aumf to govern the war begins ice ill of the mais chastised congress at a hearing
testifying that he has not understood why the congress happy come forward to at least debate on aumf. that's the thought our leadership under paul ryan to be honest with you. he could ask that we have a debate but he doesn't do it. my two questions. that's one if you will write that down. the other one is going to be as quick as well. the waste and abuse inafter. we have spent over $1 trillion. you talk about the soldiers and marines who have been killed. huang for remembering and sharing the 23, 2400 -- or mack thorn bury did, over 20,000 wounded. we have been paying ghost soldiers to help the americans over there. they don't even know who they are, but we spent billions and billions of dollars. d.o.d. paid $6 million to buy nine goats. we don't know where the goats are, by the way. but that's d.o.d. spending that money.
that's why the position on sequestration i somewhat agree with you, i didn't vote for it. but in all fairness we keep wasting the taxpayers' money as mr. trump said not only in that one sentence but he said it 30 times.i have all 30 of his quotes. the waste and the abuse that shocked the pem of the third district of north carolina the home of camp lejeune and cherry point was the one that the u.s. department of defense sign a contract with a british firm called new century consultant where we paid them $50 million to train afghan to be intel officers. out of that, we bought seven luxury cars. the firm in britain bought seven luxury cars, aston martin, porsches and four other looksry
cars, plus they paid their wives $400,000 each. go back to the aumf, and i want to ask you this, who on your staff is responsible for reporting to you about all this wasteful and abuse that john sought has done a wonderful job of informing congress and the american people. it keeps going on. it has to stop because it is going to hurt the nation, which is $20 trillion in debt, and it is hurting our military. but how can you justify -- not you personally, how can we justify spending for and more money when we can't for the waste fraud and abuse in afghanistan? there are my two questions. i appreciate your answers. >> congressman, we cannot justify wasting any money. and i'm committed to finding who is responsible every time we find a case like this, holding them accountable and preventing it in the future. and i need to look into this ne
will be getting back to you on this in detail. >> thank you. >> i don't believe you can waste government money. one of the things we are doing to make sure there is no more ghost soldiers. and by the way, president gani embraced it because it's working on his ghost teachers. granted not something we are putting money into it. but he has the same problem in his education system, and we are biometrically enrolling every one of them. if necessary i will use u.s. pay masters but we are not going the hand the machine over and hope it gets to the right places in terms of fighting this war. the biometrics alone will remove a lot of this problem because the only way to be entered is to be there. the ghost soldier piece will be a way of monitoring their continued status than it will be to having corruption introduced at the beginning. this comes out of the chairman's failure analysis that i directed him to do and what do you do about the kind of thing you rightly bring up to us here today.
but we are not going to continue that. as far as the aumf goes, my point is that we need the unity of the american government, and with the congress involved that brings the unity of the american people to this fight. and i recognize we have to win your trust and your confidence on this. and the fact the department of defense is big notwithstanding, i intend to do that. >> thank you sir. thank you chairman. >> thank you mr. jones. >> we now proceed to mr. larson of washington state. >> thank you mr. chairman. a couple questions. first off with regards to the regionalization r in the new strategy, in 2004 the administration at the time designated pakistan as a non-nato ally, making pakistan eligible for certain preferences, especially with regards to support of its
military. given that one of the points that you made and the president has made about the administration taking a harder line towards pakistan regarding support of the taliban, are you ready now to revoke pakistan's non-nato ally status? if yes, can you give us the reasons? if not, why not? >> congressman, what we are doing right now is we are aligning what department of treasury, department of defense, intelligence community, department of state say this is what we must ask pakistan to do to change its behavior. at the same time we are aligning that with nato so we have 39 other nations that will also be reinforcing us. as you know, i just visited new delhi about the situation they face on their border. there are a number of ways, based on a very recent visit by the pakistan chief of army staff to kabul about three days ago
that we can help pakistan to see its way forward and do what is in its own best interest. we will do this in a holistic, integrated way. holistic means whole of government, and integrate with our allies. and that's across south asia. this strategy is not exclusive. in other words, any nation that wants to fight back against terrorism and reduce this threat to all nations is more than welcome. it is not exclusive of pakistan. it's inclusive. that's why we started with a regionalized strategy. as we move this forward, we are going to have to fine common ground with pakistan. and as you know, the international community does not stand for terrorism. so there are decisions pakistan must make. they have lost more troops than probably any other fighting terrorists so on the one hand we have the problems of havens and other things that we have all
registered. and yet at the same time they have actually been fighting the terrorists. we have got to get this aligned regionallily and solve this problem and we have options to deliver -- >> if i could just note, in 16-plus years, i have probably shared the frustrations of many on this committee about pakistan as well as the limited number of successes that we have had with pakistan. >> right. >> is revocation of non-nato ally status on that list of possibles, however? >> i'm sure it will be. >> general dunford, you just came back from china, visited one border, the koinz sloosh north korean borester but there is a border between china and afghanistan. it's not easy to get to but it does exist. did you have any discussions with china on the regionalization issue and what role they can play?
>> congressman, that trip was really focused on north korea. it had a few sidebar conversations on afghanistan. clearly, china has -- you know, there is many interests where our interests diverge, many where they converge. counter-terrorism is where our interests converge, particularly in afghanistan. i have certainly suggested to chinese interlocktures that they could play a role in assisting with the counter-terrorism evidence on the border. >> thank you, yield back. >> gentle lady from guam. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. first i'd lying to go on record to thank secretary mattis and general dunford. it is good to see both of you again today. and i'll take moment to express my appreciation to you and the department of defense for providing the security to the people of guam from north korea. and we do appreciate the
department's efforts to have the thaad battery protecting the people of guam. thank you very much. my expectation is that today's hearing is one of the first steps in drawing out what an afghanistan strategy that the administration puts out would look like. secretary mattis, at your recent speech at the air force association conference, you stressed the importance of not only listening to our allies, but be willing to be persuaded by them. can you point out to me pieces of this strategy where the administration and the department of defense have been persuaded by our allies? or would solicit input from the international community? and what portions of the strategy do our allies and partners have concerns with? >> congresswoman, right now i would just tell you that to be
willing to be persuaded, the allies were 100% persuaded by our approach to drive towards reconciliation. it has received near universal agreement. i say near because i haven't talked to all of them. but during the -- while we were putting this strategy together, i have met three times with various groups of allies from the defeat isis group because of the similarities in the counter-terrorism campaign, and with the minuisters of defense there in brussels, the nato ministers, as well as in the pacific when i was at the shangri la dialogues where i talked to many of my counter-parts there. they made it very clear that they believe that this enemy had to be defeated in afghanistan or whether it was in europe or in the pacific, we were going the see a wider spread. so i think this is why we have
seen such support, frankly, from across our allies since we have rolled it out, from brussels and the nato nations to new delhi in india, certainly in kabul, where even the housing prices are going up based on the confidence -- this is an objective measure we watch very closely for what's going on there. so we have seen the input. we have heard the input. and it's been incorporated into what we have, and we are getting good feedback, ma'am. >> thank you, mr. secretary. i'm hear to hear that. and gentlemen, when do you expect the new strategy to produce positive results? what tools and process do you have in place to assess progress toward the stated end goal? i am aware that the strategy will not have predetermined timelines, but i am interested in the department of defense's plan to monitor progress toward the condition-based goals that
have been set. either one of you. >> yeah, congresswoman, we have in a u.s./afghan compact agreement with president gani's government -- we have over 200 specific benchmarks as we attempt to quantify to the degree we can -- you can't quantify everything. but quantify where we can the progress we are making. furthermore, we have polling going on to see how we are doing with the hearts and minds of the people. additionally, we have a separate, by the joint chiefs of staff, we have a separate assessment that will be going on as we look at our own benchmarks that we intend to meet. numbers of units that are mentored, this sort of thing. but in order to be output oriented, it's going to take a little time. that said, i was struck by the degree of confidence i saw politically and militarily in
afghanistan among our coalition troops and among the afghan leadership, military and political, as a result of this strategy. so i think the psychological impact is beginning to be felt. the taliban have been unsuccessful in what they have been attempting to do to take a provincial and district center. they are still trying as we speak here today. but also, they are starting to fight among themselves due to a loss of some key leadership and because they are just not getting along with each other under the increased pressure that the afghan forces are placing on them. anything else chairman? >> i think we will have a pretty good sense for the strategy next summer as our advisory effort is revised and we implement the full advisory effort that is advised by the failure analysis. next summer's performance by the afghan force will be one
measurable meter. also taking place is the election. we will see the afghan ability to perform the security function associated with the elections as being a good indicator as well. >> thank you very much general. and i yield back, mr. chairman. >> ms. spear? >> thank you mr. chairman. to both of you, we are deeply grateful for your service and for the kind of in-depth analysis you do on all of these issues to present to the president. i have a couple of questions. director coates, the director of the national intelligence, recently testified to congress in which he said the intelligence community assesses that the political and security situation in afghanistan will almost certainly deteriorate through 2018 even with a modest increase in military assistance by the united states and its partners. general doesn't today, you and the secretary plan for only a modest increase in military assessments if the intelligence
fortunate assesses that won't make any difference then how can you defend sending thousands more troops and how can we ask our allies to do the same? >> i think what the intel provi. i don't think they have assessed several things, one is the revised organizational construct of the forces. nay are making significant changes. i don't think the intel community has factored in the increased combat support that u.s. and coalition forces are providing to the afghans. i don't think the intel community has adequately assessed the impact of a conditions based strategy on the confidence of the afghan people and security forces or the behavior of other regional actors. so, you know, again, this is a very difficult endeavor. the one thing i'm sure of is the strategy will keep the american people safe by preventing al qaeda and isis from conducting
attacks on the homeland and allows the afghan forces where they can secure their country on their own. >> do you agree with me that we will have a presence in afghanistan for the foreseeable future, each of you? >> i'll take that question first. here's what i would say. in south asia as a whole, we have vital national interests. i believe those vital national interests are enduring. i believe we'll have a diplomatic and economic and some military presence in the region for long period of time. i do believe that the military element of our strategy will decrease over time to a sustainable level. what we are attempting to do in our overall campaign against terrorism is insure that working by with and through local partners, we get to the point where we have a politically and military and fiscally strategy. in afghanistan i look in that context. while i do think there will be u.s. influence and presence for some time to come, i don't think
there will be a large foot print of u.s. forces for a long period of time to come. >> so to be fair to the american people, we should make it clear to them that we're not leaving afghanistan? >> we should only leave a region, again, if you look at our strategy as being democratic economic and military if we didn't have national interests and i think we do. there has to be some presence and influence, albeit in different form but there has to be some u.s. presence in order for us to advance our interests in the reason. >> mr. secretary, do you have any comments on that? >> i would agree. we have a number going in now, it's going to make their military more capable as they prove themselves and build their own capability as the enemy diminishes, certainly our numbers would be coming down in a commiserate rate, conditions based as the president said. >> what does a diplomatic solution there look like? how do we bring the parties together and what would that look like?
>> first, we have to remove from the taliban a sense they don't have to negotiate, somehow they can achieve what they want through violence. once they get that through their head, then we're going to peel off some of them, and you already see this happening, where there's an admization of the taliban going on because they've lost some key leaders. and the ones who have stepped up frankly have not been as good. it's made in some ways the reconciliation, political reconciliation a little harder because some of the people we're dealing with may not represent the new fragmented taliban. eventually, the weakening of the taliban should put us in a position where some of them say that's it, i'm not going to keep this up. others say we're willing to negotiate. what does the negotiation look like? they stop killing people and stop supporting the terrorists who attack this town and new york city. and at that point, if they're willing to live by the
constitution, the president ghani has made clear they can come back. you've seen parts of it come over, have come over to ghani's side. it's starting and it's not tidy, but it's ongoing now. that's what you'll see continue to move forward as we block the militarily from having a chance for victory on the battlefield. >> thank you, i yield back. >> gentleman, it looks like it's going to be maybe another five minutes or so before other members come back. i could pepper you with questions but maybe i won't. you've been testifying a lot today. so what i think we will do is invite our witnesses to the antante room and the committee will stand in recess for approximately five to six minutes.
happen. and we're blessed, we're also reminded that life is precious. with everything going on in the world, you know, we think about las vegas and we think about the devastation in las vegas. we think about families and loved ones whose lives were cut short. it's really hard to imagine yesterday morning getting the news that your child isn't coming home or your spouse is gone. our hearts are breaking. and i think it's very important that we are reaching out, that we are showing compassion and comfort that helps people get through it. but we also need to give thoughts and try to gain understanding from it as we search for what's next. i do ask everyone to join in prayer for those who have lost their lives, for the families that were impacted. pray for healing. pray for healing for our country. broken lives and broken hearts. that we may come together during this time when this tragedy has happened.
>> thank you, madam chair, and leadership for those of you who don't know me, i represent nevada's second district. i wanted to share a couple of thoughts with you. first of all, a shoutout to the sheriff and his folks at the metro police department. calm and effective response, those homeland security grants that my colleagues here have been nice enough to provide to las vegas is one of america's at risk cities have been put to good use. and thank them all for their support. second of all, when we talk about nevada's resilience, las vegas is the world's fun place. what happened a couple days ago doesn't fit that description. when you talk about the nevada resilience and the outpouring of support, not only from around the state of nevada, but also the country and the nation, it's a pretty humbling thing. it's a pretty humbling time for everybody to try to sort out
what's going on. but there's time in the coming weeks to find those answers and do those sorts of things we need to do and see what the lessons are learned. i think right now it's just that humility and thoughts and prayers to those that are affected, both those that are here and those that are gone. thank you all for your support on behalf of the silver state. nevada resilience, thanks a lot. >> let me first say, it's great to see all of you and it's great to be back. i continue to just let everybody know who prayed for me during those tough times, how much it meant, it was tremendously uplifting and gave me and my family a lot of strength during those tough times. and on that same token, jennifer and i pray for the people that were involved in the nevada shooting. obviously, with so much loss of life and so many people who are
still injured today. those families need our prayers today. they need to be uplifted. people are saying what can we do to help. we need to remember that there is a tremendous loss of blood. go to your local blood bank and just donate blood. that alone can be a very positive sign, especially when you look at how much blood was lost and probably will need to continue to be used at the local hospitals as people continue to be treated. so there's a lot that we need to pray for. surely the loss of life and those injured. hopefully those who are injured can get through their injuries and can get back to their families. so keep them in your prayers. >> it's so uplifting to have steve back. many of you remember that day. i was at the hospital the day steve was in. and the look on the doctor's
face, the things he told us, you know this man is strong. when his wife, jennifer, arrived and the struggle whether he was going to be able to overtake what had fallen upon him, she said you don't know the strength of my husband. you look at his face. and the number times we'd go visit him. my wife and i were there on the fourth of july. he had just gotten an infection and you would never know it. i hope congress remembers the spirit that they felt last thursday as we moved forward. we'll have philosophical differences, but there's so much more that unites this nation. in moments like this is times we look for the things that are important. and we are just so thankful you're back and the spirit in which you come. we awoke yesterday to another tragic loss. as mark talked about, las vegas
is more than just a city. las vegas is a city not just for america, but for an entire nation and the world. everyone felt that loss. because there are people from all around there. i have three constituents who lost their lives that day. i have others sitting in the hospital. bailey schweizer, she was a 20-year-old girl just attended centennial high school. big country music fan. family owns the bakersfield speedway. she was there with her mother and friends. she was one of the best friends to my district director's daughter and lives three doors down. jack beaten, the father of two and he was celebrating his 23rd wedding anniversary with his wife. when the shots rang out, he jumped in front of his wife and gave the ultimate sacrifice for the one he loved.
victor link, 55 years old, born in shafter, his family still lives there. inside the hospital, i have a bakersfield police officer off duty. he had hip surgery yesterday. they say he'll make a good recovery. i have another young lady who is in the icu. last night, i shared dinner with our president who spoke about that day. i told him i thought his comments, his moment of silence for the nation to help bring us together, mark and i will travelling with the president tomorrow to las vegas. i know in these horrific crimes, these individuals, when they try to divide our nation, it's really a time that we have to heal. it's really a time that we find
what divides us to put aside. i know what these families are going to go through. we need to be there for them. we need to find that we are stronger and we cannot allow this terror to win. i yield back. >> well, i am -- i, too, want to just say, you know, i remember the day we saw you in a coma and to see steve scalise standing right here, it really is a miracle. and it's really good to have steve back. and so we feel so blessed. you know, i also know we are all just reeling from this horror that we witnessed in las vegas. as we speak, we have a lot of people in the hospital right now fighting for their lives. parents are grieving for their children. this is just awful. we cannot let the actions of a
single person define us as a country. it's not who we are. instead, what truly defines us are the acts of heroism we witness after the tragedy. kevin told you about the man who shielded his wife. there are just hundreds of stories of people looking out for one another, strangers helping each other. first responders rushing in to shield people. people lining up today, you saw the pictures, to give blood. this is what america is. with our voting schedule, the chair recognizes the gentleman from south carolina, mr. wilson. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you on behalf of military service members, military families, veterans, there is such a reassurance with your service and so greatly appreciated your dedication and your persistence on behalf of victory as we're proceeding on the war of terrorism. one of the primary concerns i would like each of you to
address is the -- are the rules of engagement in afghanistan during the previous administration, i introduced a resolution calling for a ruvisir revision in an effort to succeed in the complex environment. what is the status of the new rules of engagement for u.s. military efforts in afghanistan? >> sir, the old rules included both rules of -- under rules of engagement and operating principles, included a requirement for proximity of the enemy to be engaged by our air forces. president trump has told me that i have the authority to change that so i've removed proximity. that in itself opens the enemy, wherever they are found to the nato air support under the nato
plan. so the first thing is we've unleashed that. at the same time, we have had a reduction in the number of deaths by innocent people as a result of coalition operations, not taliban. my point is, we will always take every humanly possible step to protect the innocent. but the rules themselves permit engaged forces to bring air support in. furthermore, by extending the who -- which units are being advised, it means that many afghan units that never had advisors, and had a convoluted to get the air support. it wasn't a rule of engagement problem, it was an organizational problem. that has been removed as well. >> i truly appreciate the complex situation of organizational rules and you addressing it. again, it's reassuring as a
parent. and then, mr. secretary, we all want to succeed in afghanistan and you clearly eliminated -- or identified the situation, that is that we need to eliminate safe havens for terrorists abroad to defend american families at home. at the same time, i support your efforts for more troops. we have increased deployments, meaning fewer ready units at home. sadly, we've had the recent extended loss of two detrostroy, and the necessary support for devastating hurricanes. the strain on the military is ever increasing. what can we in congress do to help you face the multiple threats that are facing our country? >> i think the most important thing is we get budget predictability and certainty. without that, we cannot take the -- adjust our forces and get
predictability into our budgets that permits us to gain the best bang for the buck to put it bluntly. we're going into the ninth year with a continuing resolution. i cannot make new starts under that, even if the cyber domain or the space domain require that we do new things. we've not had to do before to maintain our competitive edge. the most important thing i believe is to make certain that the congress act together to relieve us of the budget control act, cap the defense caps and we get predictability in our funding. >> we're trying to address that. additionally, mr. secretary, i appreciate your visit last week to new delhi. how will our defense relationship with india change, and keeping that in mind, how can we balance our cooperation with india as we have a
situation where pakistan has a level of resentment? >> sir, the question you're bringing up is exactly why i was in new deli last week where prime minister modi and their minister of defense welcomed me. i will tell you thatind i indian the move, the economy is picking up. but most importantly we have a strategic emergence of a democracy. india has been generous over many years with afghanistan. they have been the victim of terrorism, so i don't need to go there and talk about the terrorist threat with them. we have many areas where we are natural partners with one another. and we're deepening and broadening the military relationship with them it is not an exclusive strategy exclusive of anyone. any nation that wants to be part
of this counterterror effort and the stability effort in south asia can sign up. pakistan need not think this is exclusive of them, it's open to any nation that wants to move against terrorism and remove this threat to all civilized nations. >> thank you very much. >> yes, sir. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and mr. secretary, general dunford, thank you for being here and thank you for your service to our country. in president trump's august 21st speech, the president stated that he had lifted restrictions placed on our war fighters and the expanded targeting authorities. i know you understand this is, obviously, critical that congress be kept appraised of the outcomes as a result of these changes so we can continue to conduct the appropriate level of oversight. can you clearly define for me what are the restrictions have
been lifted and what results have you seen since the changes were made thus far? >> sir, the nato o plan had certain objectives in mind. it's organized to bring the afghan army into a stronger position. and in some cases we were not giving the army the high ground. in other words, have fought in the mountains, it's a very uncomfortable feeling when the enemy is above you. we did not give the young afghan boys the sense that they had the high ground when they were fighting against this enemy that the nato air support could have given them. today i can bring that air support to them. we have got to reorganize our advisors because those units with nato and american advisors win and those without them often do not win. we're going to spread the number
of units with advisors. we're going to bring that air support to bear and, specifically, we are no longer bound by the need for proximity to our forces. in other words, wherever we find the enemy, we can put the pressure from the air support on them. it used to be we had to basically be in contact with that enemy. at the same time, we do not want this to be misinterpreted into a an affair. we want to do everything humanly possible to prevent the death or injury of innocent people. >> are there other restrictions we should know about you can identify now? >> the other restrictions are basically in now being able to bring this fire support to bear where we could not before,
whether it be for proximity or we were not with those units. remember, we were only advising under the old -- under what i inherited down to the core level. we're now going down to the brigade level and the next level down, what you and i call battalion level. these are the forces that actually move against the enemy. you'll notice the commando forces and special forces who consistently win against the taliban also have nato and u.s. advisors with them. our failure analysis made very clear why we had the problem with the other forces. we're going to solve that. >> thank you. secretary mattis, while the afghan government is determined to maintain security instability, it's obvious that they are also contend ing with clash of cultures in the region. necessitating a coalition of partner nations to address regional security challenges. i understand that you just -- i
know you just spoke with congressman wilson -- where they pledged $3 billion for development projects to train afghan officers as well as additional naval cooperation. how will this expanded engagement enhance security in the region? how do you intend to leverage relationships like this to develop a more effective coalition strategy that will inject a level of legitimacy and competence between the afghan government, its people and regional partners? similarly, something that caught my attention in the president's speech, how do you intend to persuade pakistan to take more action to eliminate cooperation support and refuge for the taliban and the haqqani network? >> sir, let me take the second question. first, on pakistan what you'll see is 39 nations all in the nato campaign working together to lay out what it is we need
pakistan to do as well as in the u.s. government, secretary of treasury, secretary of state, the intelligence community, defense department and we lay out what it is we need pakistan to do. then we'll use the whole of government, international effort, to align the basically the benefits and the penalties if those things are not done. pakistan, again, has lost more troops in this fight against terrorists than nearly any other country out there. yet at the same time, as you know, there's been some parsing out where some terrorists have been allowed safe havens. we're out to change that behavior and do it firmly. based on a visit three days ago by the chief of army staff of pakistan to kabul, we actually have for the first time a sense of some optimism out of the afghan government. i'm from -- i'm in a show me stage right now, but we intend
to work through international partners, diplomatically, economically and work together to make the change that's actually in pakistan's best interest. as far as gaining confidence with the afghan people with the military and how we'll make it work. i'm going to ask the chairman to say a few words about this. the bottom line is, if you look at what we call the largest political assemblage under their culture, it is overwhelming how much of the population wants the nato alliance to stick with them. and so when you add to that the countries like india, which are trying to provide more generous -- they've been very generous, but even more development support. there's ways to build the confidence of a people that have been tormented ever since the soviet invasion by violence. chairman, if you have something?
>> the one thing we always said was the most important thing we would deliver to the afghan people was some hope for the future. a conditions based approach gives them that. in recent polling, about 80% of the people reject the taliban. 70% plus have confidence in the afghan security forces. and roughly those same numbers as secretary mattis alluded to, roughly those same numbers welcome a coalition presence. so i think that the commitment that the international community -- this isn't just a strategy about the united states. there's 39 other nations and nato has the same approach, a conditions based approach. i think that's having a profound effect in the psychology of the afghan people. which, again, we always felt was a source of strength in the campaign. >> thank you both. >> mr. lobiondo? >> thank you for your solid and extraordinary leadership. i think the nation is fortunate that you have accepted these
assignments. a lot of my questions have already been asked and answered. i want to go back just to what a couple of my colleagues have said previously about pakistan. i know that they are demonstrating at least rhetorically the right approach and expressing a willingness to help. we've seen this before. and we've been disappointed and sometimes they do a little bit and make it sound like it's a lot. what -- in this -- i recognize we're in a open setting. what can you tell us if this is a false start again, what we can do to pressure them to more cooperate. without them we have a much more difficult time in afghanistan. >> sir, the reason we did a regional approach in the beginning was so we didn't try to start with afghanistan, put together a great plan, and then say, well, now we've got to add in these kind of variables.
we started with india to iran, we looked up into central asia and down into pakistan. and came at afghanistan as a geographically centralized problem. but informed by the others. i think that there's an increasingly level of discontent in the world with any country that supports terrorism for any reason. it's taken a while for some countries to come on board, but when you look at what secretary tillerson has put together in terms of the defeat isis coalition, 69 countries right now plus the arab league, european union, nato, interpol. when you think of that number of countries, it's clear that what isis has done is created its own antibodies. by doing that, there's more of a concern about the spread of terrorism. so as we work this problem with
pakistan, as pakistan has moved against the border areas in the last six months, losing a lot of troops and pushing against some of the border passes that give access into afghanistan, i think that we're in a position now where we can be more compelling. but this is going to be one step at a time. we are going to remain basically focused on this effort. we're not going to back off. it will start with assistant secretaries coming out of washington and the national security staff members going into pakistan followed by the secretary of state. i will go in. we have the secretary general's clear support in this in his advocacy as the secretary general of nato. we're going to continue to build this up for the argument for
pakistan to work in their own best interest. >> thank you, secretary mattis. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you both for being here. at the outset i want to sort of endorse mr. jones' comments that i too as a full body of congress should have the opportunity to debate an authorization for use of military force. it's been too many years, i feel i've been here ten years and we have been having these hearings over and over and over again. and we have many new members of congress as well. with the new administration, a new effort not necessarily as different, but i feel we need the chance to debate this and recommit or not to what you're doing. but i also wanted to just address, again, the regional approach that you're taking. we've had some conversation about pakistan. but there is also been reporting
that russia is engaged in finding ways to support the taliban, iran as well. and i just like your thoughts on how that's complicating your efforts there. >> any effort to support a terrorist group like the taliban, until they renounce terrorism, support for them is not in russia's best interest, not in iran's best interest. certainly not in afghanistan people's best interest. it's contrary to the nato campaign and the international agreements under the u.n. that put us there in the first place. so i think that this is very difficult to discern why they would do something that's not in their best interest. i'm not ready to say precisely what it is. i want to see more evidence about how deep the support is. just hard to believe iran's had their diplomats killed by taliban, russia has had enough problems coming out of terrorism
in south central asia. this doesn't make sense, but then the world doesn't always make sense. we'll figure it out and we'll illuminate it where it's necessary in order to try to get a change in behavior. >> you be seen some evidence of it without fully having a sense of to what level it goes? >> we have seen some, ma'am. i need more definition on what is coming out of russia. i can't figure it out. it doesn't make sense. we're looking at it carefully. out of iran, it's always been a low level of intermittent support for taliban, mostly financial. some weapons. it's iran doing what it usually does in terms of trying to create chaos. >> general dunford, would you like to comment? >> congresswoman, what we've seen, to be clear, because you've talked about support. we have clear indications of
communications. i think with regard to the iranians, no question there's a degree of support as well as communications. with the russians, i don't think we have specificity on support to the taliban. >> thank you, that was my only question, i yield back. >> mr. turner? >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, good to see you again. thank you for being here. i too, like the other members want to thank you for your work since you've been secretary. you've been very diligent in insuring the committee is informed, working directly with the members of the committee. even beyond that. you have with the classified briefings you've held for the whole house, made certain that other members hear your message. that helps us because what we learn in these hearings we take out to other members. you're taking your message directly, which is including, and i appreciate you have done that because it's making a big difference. i want to ask you a question concerning the drug trade in afghanistan.
according to a 2016 survey concerning opium cultivation and production in afghanistan, the cultivation in afghanistan in 2016 increased by 10%. all regions except the southern region experienced an increase in opium poppy cultivation last year. aside from a drop between 2014 and 2015, the data shows a steady growth in opium poppy cultivation between 1994 and 2016. if you look at the historical levels from 2001 to where we are today, it has roughly doubled. so we have seen it was less than half before 2001. i know that's unacceptable. i'm certain you believe it's unacceptable and it has a direct impact on counterterrorism as you know. it lessons the funds that are available to terrorists. a breeds corruption in the
afghan government and military. and we know how to address the infrastructure for the narcotic trade. looking at your additional strategy in south asia, how do you see this strategy including an effort to affect the opiate and narcotic trade? >> it's a great question, both the counterfinance aspects of the strategy and the countercorruption are linked directly to the counternarcotics campaign. we will watched as we drilled down too fast, too early. we watched the taliban surge, as they surged we watched the poppy surge along with it. no surprise here. the intelligence community had warned us about this. so it's exactly what we were told would happen.
as we look at this we're going to go after the counternarcotics refineries, the bazaars where they're recruited. that's how the taliban uses their taxation trade. it's not from the little guy who is farming a hardy crop of poppies. we're going to look at where does it help the taliban and fight it from that direction, rather than going pretty much in a big way just after the farmers themselves. there's a way to cut this thing and reduce it by targeting the right locations in the drug trade. >> we dealt with this issue a lot. there's been times when we've had some success.
in looking at the issue, the committee is aware that there are impediments. are there things, funding issues, we need to address to insure the new strategy is implemented? what do you see as your impediments? >> are you talking more broadly or just with regard to the drug program? >> you get the assignment but you don't have the authorities. where are there areas where there's difficulty for you in trying to achieve through the d.o.d. structure a reduction in narcotic production? how can we help you? >> i think having the right numbers of drug enforcement agents to advise the afghan forces. they've got a major crimes task force there. and so law enforcement officials that can help advise and grow the capacity of the afghans to both arrest, protect evidence and prosecute has been something that's showed a good value in the past and also making sure the justice system continues to mature as well.
>> secretary mattis anything you would like to add to that? i do know you have difficulty interagency, interdepartment and constructionally in trying to achieve these goals. >> because it touches the taliban and counterfinance efforts, is something we're very much invested in and integrated i don't sense i have any missing authorities here. if i find them i'll come up and see you and tell you what i need. i've made a note of it, i need to look at it. so far i've not heard that. i haven't asked a specific question. i need to do so before i answer you. >> thank you. >> mr. rourk. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, you said a couple of times during this hearing that war is a matter of will and the taliban have to understand that there is an
implacable will on our side to continue the fight and see it through until we achieve our goals. convince me that our will is more implacable than theirs going forward. >> of course i'm not alone in this fight, sir. i've just come out and seen our troops in the field. i have no doubt we have the troops with willingness to defend this country, and this city and new york city. i think you bring up a good point. it goes back to something mentioned earlier about aumf. the u.s. congress has got to embrace this as our fight. we're all in this. i'm eager to hear any criticisms
of strategy, changes in the operation, open the door, have you gone in, look at it. to me, if what you go in and see and what our inspector finds there isn't something you admire, then i need to change it. one thing i have dealt with this kind of enemy since 1979. i do not patronize them. when they say girls don't go to school, you're not going to talk them out of it. they didn't rationally arrive at that point. we're going to have to confront this the way generations of americans have confronted other threats, whether it be fascism or communism. we'll have to confront it for our time. >> let me ask you a follow up question. you talked about some of our goals, the primary one i think being that afghanistan never again be used to plan or carry out attacks against the united states of america. we want those stakeholders like the taliban to work within the national government and the political process. you also said that the taliban
have to understand they cannot kill their way to power. i think you would agree we probably cannot kill our way towards these goals and conditions. so, therefore, what is going to have to happen for the taliban to accept our conditions short of us killing all of them? >> well, i think, congressman, it's got to be they recognize they're not going to gain power at the point of a gun. and that the afghan security forces are cable pable of defea them. >> if i could add in there when we talk about will, i think the secretary touched on something that's important. it's not the taliban will just against u.s. and coalition will. it's the taliban will against the afghans and the afghan forces in particular. last year the afghan forces had 16,000 soldiers killed and they stayed in the fight. they have proved incredibly resilient. they've had battlefield shortfalls and we know what they are and our failure analysis
identified. the plan we've proposed is designed to assess where there are tactical gaps down at the small unit level and the ability to deliver fires. at the end of the day, this is a clash of wills. it's a clash of wills between the afghan people and some small portion of the afghan people that actually want to resort to violence to advance their political objectives. with support to the afghan forces and people, i'm confident their will will actually endure longer than taliban will. >> with all due respect, it's not just the afghan government and a small minority, it's the afghan government, a trillion dollars in u.s. taxpayer support, tens of thousands of u.s. service members, nato allies, the support monetarily and miltary. i'm having trouble understanding
what the changes are today. i mean no disrespect. i'm not hearing it. the war has suffered from a lack of oversight and questions asked. i'm asking you this question. >> i think it's a fair question. it is a fair question debate, why this is different and why we should stay after 16 years. i certainly tell you from a military perspective why i recommended we stay was we looked carefully at the 20 groups that are international terrorist groups, 20 of the 90 we recognize around the world. and the consequences of not keeping pressure on them. that was number one. in terms of what's different, people talk about 16 years. for 14 years of those 16 years, we were in the lead and we were in a fight. over the past two years, it's been the afghan forces that were in the lead and in the fight. they didn't have adequate force capabilities to be able to deal with the taliban. this doesn't address 16 years of us being in a fight. this addresses two years of the taliban fighting legitimate
afghan security forces. and this plan is designed to fill the capability gaps that have been identified as a result of the two years of casualties and setbacks they have suffered. i think that's really important. is that this is designed to be fiscally mill tearalitarily sustainable. this is about leveraging 300,000 afghan forces that we have grown over the course of 16 years but inadequately supported over the last two. >> mr. lanborne. >> mr. chairman, and thank you both for what you do to protect our country and our allies. i believe the president is to be commended when he in his recent speech talked about pakistan and how pakistan needs to be more consistent in its promoting stability in the region. secretary mattis, you addressed that very strongly in your comments earlier. i would like to follow up on
that a little bit. what can we do if pakistan does not follow through and be a better promoter of promoting stability? >> sir, we have an enormously powerful number of options there. right now, i would like to think we will be successful. but you have -- ask a very good question. because we don't want a temporary change, and then, you know, things go back the bad way. i think that right now with the growing consensus against terrorism they'll find themselves diplomatically isolated and in increasing trouble as countries say enough is enough and take steps. there's an awful lot of advantage to pakistan, of coming
online with the international community. i think that we have to stay focused there. but the penalties are just as significant as the advantages if they choose to go a different direction. but for right now, we need one more time to try to make this work. president trump is prepared to take whatever steps are necessary. >> and for either one of you, how will or how should our defense relationship with india change? >> i was in india last week and was very well received by prime minister modi. we have a strategic convergence between the world's two biggest democracies. this is probably a once in a
generation opportunity to, with shared interests, to deepen and to broaden our defense relationships but also our economic relationship. i think our political relationship can be tightened together. they are a force for stability in south asia. they're a force for stability in the endo pacific region. they're coming into their own economically as a great nation as they have steady growth rates going on right now. and i think there's an opportunity here that we have not experienced in decades to tie us together in terms of a broadened level of cooperation and a natural alignment with each other's interests. >> as a follow on to that, do you have anything that you're ready today to announce or designate specifically that we will be doing that we haven't done in the past with india?
>> there is a number of things in motion right now, sir. and decisions i think will be coming very soon. we're both working to turn these big words into pragmatic realities. because i see both sides working together on it, i'm optimistic. it's not like we have to go over there and convince them that terrorism is a threat. they've felt what's happened there. we have not had to convince them that we don't have nefarious designs on the endo pacific area where two democracies that we can work together on this. there are some things we're doing in terms of their support in afghanistan d developme, dev funding. they've been generous for many years and achieved a degree of affection from the afghan people as a result. they intend to continue this effort and broaden it. furthermore, they are providing training for afghan military officers and ncos at their
schools. they're willing to do rehabilitation of soviet era equipment until we're able to replace it with american, that will take years in order to do it properly. so they need to maintain what they have. helicopters, for example. furthermore, they are -- they've been providing and will continue to provide training for afghan army doctors and medics in the field so that the army is able to take casualties and better sustain themselves. that sort of thing. it's really a very holistic approach that india is taking. you notice i left off boots on the ground because of the complexity that that would bring to pakistan. we're trying to make this an inclusive strategy. we don't want them to get a sense they're vulnerable to any indian army people from their western flank. it's not necessary. >> thank you.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, i wanted to specifically ask you about the state department and the programs in afghanistan now. how do funding cuts to the department as proposed by the administration affect the overall mission there? i know in the past you've been very outspoken about the importance of diplomacy and other programs to support the mission. >> congressman, right now what we're trying to do is get a lot more development aid from the international community. this is separate and distinct from what we're doing to lower the demand on the american taxpayer where we're paying an awful lot of the military piece of this. we're trying to raise money, by the way, from our allies to carry more of the commitment on the military side. but i am not certain what the cuts are as far as a.i.d.'s budget for afghanistan. i can get back to you. i'll go to state department, to
usaid and determine that and come back to you with an informed answer, sir. >> thank you very much. also, i wanted to ask you about special inspector general john sopko, he said with a new administration and congress it's a good opportunity to reevaluate our efforts in afghanistan and find out what's working and what's not. one smart first step would be to do what was recommended years ago, which is for each of the three major agencies in the reconstruction effort state, u usaid and d.o.d. to rack and stack so they know where to invest further. that was his quote. i don't know if you agreed with that proposal and if so has it been implemented in any way in crafting a south asia strategy. >> i do agree with what he said
about what's working and what's not. we've done a failure analysis that's delved into this issue. before i have the chairman talk with his background as a nato commander there in afghanistan, i will tell you that when i heard that the budget was being reduced for a.i.d., secretary tillerson and i sat down together the next day. we spoke about how we would align themselves at the high level, determine what were priorities without any violation of the -- of our funding lines. make certain we were talking to each other, that we aligned our foreign policy efforts, d.o.d. reinforcing state department with a very strong partnership to make sure we're getting -- we probably should have been doing this anyway. but make certain what we're doing was collaborative with one another in any part of the world we were both operating.
let me pass it over to the chairman. he has specific information on afghanistan. >> congressman, to your broader question, which is did the report inform our strategy moving forward? they partnered with us. when secretary mattis directed us to do a failure analysis to take a look at what has and hasn't worked in afghanistan. one of the key partners we brought in, when we did the failure analysis, it was very much involved but very much informed by the work that has been done. not only with regard to projects as you've talked about, but they've done good work on resource transparency and accountability. they did good work on what worked and didn't work in our advisory effort. they did good work on what worked and didn't work in terms of collaboration between state department and the department of defense. i think that i feel confident in
saying that the literature that's out there that talks about what has and hasn't worked in afghanistan is part of the recommendations we made to secretary mattis and the president. >> general -- chairman also on that one, the july report indicates a 21% increase in security incidents from last quarter of march to may 2017. and a 2% increase from the same period last year. what does this uptick tell us about the security situation overall? how are we shaping our strategy going forward in light of these particular figures? if you could answer that quickly, time has elapsed. >> i'll tell you, i don't think any of us are satisfied where security in afghanistan has been in 2016 and '17. so far, 2017 is slightly better than '16. and the reason why we believe those incidents have occurred is the afghan forces haven't had the wherewithal to accomplish their mission. we focused on the areas where they have fallen short of the
mark, especially the ability to provide aviation support. >> thank you, thank you mr. chairman. >> mr. whitman. >> thank you. thanks again for joining us today. thanks so much for your service. secretary mattis, i wanted to refer to the u.s. defense strategy on the war in afghanistan. the president noted in his august 21st address that india continues to be a very important strategic and economic partner. i certainly agree with that. i had the opportunity days after to visit with the foreign secretary of india, the defense secretary, chief of naval operations. i know you just returned from the region speaking with president modi and others and your efforts in deal ing with india is going to be steady engagement. which i think is spot on. i'm in favor of making sure we do joint naval exercises, we continue expanded defense trade. in relation to what's happening in the region, i'm more concerned about a stable afghanistan and securing the
hard fought gains we've had there. i know that you noted in reference to terrorist safe havens there in the region, that his global leaders, india and the united states resolve to work together this scourge. and i am fully in agreement with that. but i want to get your perspective. what do you think that india can do specifically to help root out or to help reduce terrorist safe havens in that region? you talked about their engagement and putting dollars into afghanistan. but what can they do in a broader sense in helping with the terrorist safe havens that are preparing throughout the region? >> congressman, india has an outsized role to play, because of its size, because it's as raucous a democracy as we are, frankly. it gives people hope that their voices can be heard. that economic opportunity can be passed broadly in a society, not to a corrupt few.
and i think their example alone is important. it's why we are looking at this strategic convergence as an opportunity for steady engagement. so we have to do pragmatic things together. i think in this regard, if there's any way for pakistan and india to open their border to trade at great economic advantage to both of those countries, it would be a big help across the region. because stability can follow economics, as much as stability enables economics. and so i would hope that we will eventually see that happen. i believe india wants that to happen. but it's very hard to do that if your concern is that you open the woborder to one thing and y get something else. so there's got to be some trust-building between those two nations. but i think that would probably be the -- in south asia, one of the key enablers to getting trade going back and forth across all those borders.
afghanistan, pakistan and india. >> very good. thank you. chairman did you knunn ford, i y follow up on the same lines of terrorist safe havens and you talked about the new afghanistan strategy calls for expanded authority for u.s. forces. to target terrorists and the criminal networks that operate in afghanistan. and the president said that he agreed and said that we ought to have a policy to make sure that there's nowhere to hide and no place that's beyond the reach of american might and american arms. i wanted to get you to elaborate a little bit more. i know you talked about what you see the expanded authority specifically needing to be. and what it means in a combat sense. and give us maybe some examples there about what's not happening now, but what could happen under expanded authority, and how the train, advise and assist role happens now versus what it would be in the future. and have you seen any positive changes that are resulting from this transition through this
change, and will there be any more changes that you think will be implemented that will be necessary to be implemented? >> congressman, let me start with the taa changes. because i think this is one of the more significant ones. we were providing advisers only with afghan conventional forces only at the core level. that's the general officer level, largest formation. those are not the organizations that are actually in the fight every day. so two levels down below is where the decisive action is taking place. and we didn't have any advisers there. and so even though we had some aviation capabilities, some intelligence, surveillance, recon sense capability, it wasn't being delivered to those afghan units most relevant in the fight. because we didn't have the authority to put advisers down to that level. so one of the more significant changes in authorities is the level at which we advise and assist. and that has and will make us more effective. also, just broadly speaking, without going into rules of engagement in an unclassified
venue, there are no individuals, there are no groups much that threaten the afghan government, threaten u.s. forces, threaten our mission or threaten the coalition that general nicholson does not have the authority to prosecute. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> thank you, mr. chair. this question is for secretary mattis. in your opinion, is iran compliant with the jcpoa? >> i believe they fundamentally are. there are certainly some areas where they were not temporarily in that regard. but overall, our intelligence community believes that they have been compliant, and the iaea also says so. >> a followup question. will you be recommending to president trump that we continue working or working through the jcpoa to continue iran's nuclear capability? >> we are working that right
now. there are -- if you look -- we have two different issues. one is the jcpoa and one is what congress has passed. and those two are distinct, but integral with each other. as you look at what the congress has laid out, a somewhat different definition of what's in our best interest. and therein lies, i think, the need for us to look at these distinct but integral issues the way the president has directed. >> thank you, secretary mattis. if there is going to be any change in the status of our participation of jcpoa, especially when if it involves the interpretation of what we in congress pass in terms of sanctions against iran outside of the jcpa, will you come back and inform and talk to us, because i believe many of us voted for iran sanctions outside jcpoa with the understanding that they were not going to be
linked. >> well, i -- i think that this would probably be most appropriate by the secretary of state, and i would follow him up here. i think that our diplomacy and the president and the secretary of state, i think, have the lead on that. but once a decision is made, and i will be in on the decision. i'll give input, of course. i'll be of always willing to come up and talk in hearing or in private. >> thank you. i yield back. >> sure. >> mr. kauffman. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general dunford, mr. chairman. the -- when we look back on the history of the vietnam war in i think august of 1969, president nixon orders vietnamesation program, as well as a withdrawal of the capability.
and he couldn't in 1972 bring the north vietnamese to the negotiating table. so he did i think operating linebacker two, of north vietnam. he brought them to the table, negotiated peace agreement that extricated the united states from the war in vietnam. if i look at the -- in afghanistan today, i think that there actually is a better in-state, because i think that the taliban come from the positive too soon ethnic group and there are areas in afghanistan where the -- particularly in rural areas where they prefer the taliban to the government of kabul. but like the north vietnamese, the taliban don't feel like they're making gains, so there is no need to come to the negotiating table.
and i understand this new -- this new strategy is designed to increase pressure to bring them to the negotiating table. at least that would be a byproduct of it. but i don't -- so what i see is a change of the rules of engagement. when you talk about air support. which is vital. but -- and we're plussing up with 3,000 troops. is that going to bring the taliban to the negotiating table? >> sir, in the past, we have not had 300 -- over 300,000 troops who are, for all of their challenges, have stood in the field and kept the taliban from doing what they intended to do, even today, which is take the provincial and district centers. so we now have the advantage of that -- that experience -- more experienced force. but we've got to get the advisers down to a level where
they bring nato air support, nato intel support, and nato artillery -- and broader artillery support to them. so, you know, time will tell, congressman. but i think, too, again, the strategy is four rs. regionalize it first, make sure we'll dealiwe're dealing with t safe havens. it's to realign our forces along these lines so they get down to the tactical level. it is to reinforce them with enough that they can get down to that level and make a difference. and then it's reconciliation. but there is also an s. it's four rs plus s. sustain this effort. because if we are willing to sustain the effort, i still remember being up here on capitol hill sitting behind dr. perry when he testified that it was never going to end the fighting, the killing and the dalmation coast. bosnia. kosovo. the international community stuck with that effort.
and how many times have we read in the newspaper about the murder of innocent people in kosovo and bosnia. do we still have a couple hundred troops there? part of the international effort? yes, we do. but the international community sticks with this. if it sustains this, i'm confident can throw the enemy on the back foot and give the afghan people a chance to pull it together. >> general dunford or secretary mattis, if i understand right, the significant -- in the rules of engagement in the prior administration, that i guess that unless -- in terms of the taliban, you said that -- i think secretary mattis, you referenced contact being in contact with the taliban. but unless the taliban showed harmful intent to u.s. forces, we didn't engage them. and i think that was modified toward the end of the last administration. if a provincial capital were
falling, then, in fact, they could be engaged. so if i understand a fundamental change in the rules of engagement, it is that the -- clearly, the taliban are an extension threat to the afghan government that we are there to support. and if, in fact, afghan security forces in and of themselves are in contact with the taliban, then we will provide close air support when reasonable. is that a correct interpretation of the current rules of engagement? >> not completely -- yeah, one time, sir, we could not help the afghan forces unless they were extremists. and i was not here then. i do not know why it happened. and then eventually that was rescinded. but they still had to be in proximity. they basically had to be in contact. today, wherever we find them, the terrorists, anyone who is trying to throw the nato plan off, trying to attack the afghan
people, the afghan government, then we can go after them. always with the caveat that we want to make every effort to not kill women and children. and innocent people. chairman, if you want to comment on that. >> congressman, just to -- i mean, i think this is to reinforce the point. there are two things that have changed. we in the past were only providing advice, you know, again, at that senior level, and then afghan special operations forces. so the only aviation support that we could provide was when we had actually advisers that could actually control that air support. so the large number of afghan conventional forces, the preponderance of those 300,000 forces we have spoken about, they could not receive close air support, because we didn't have advisers. that's a big difference. and then the other thing that is changed is that now, again, any individual or any group that threatens the afghan government or our mission, coalition
forces, or u.s. forces, obviously, can be engaged. and the conditions aren't specific to, as secretary mattis has alluded to, a specific engagement, a specific time. so if they're in an assembly area, training camp, and we know that they're an enemy and they're going to threaten the afghan government, our mission, or our people, general mickelson has the flexibility to make that decision. it's at his level, is where the authority is. and that is the fundamental difference. >> mr. multiplen. >> thank you for your continued service to the country. we have a lot of renewed confidence with you and your positions. but confidence is really my key question here. and it comes back to a question we have heard a few times and we heard from senator mccain on the other side of the hill. which is, how really will this be different? we've talked about some of the details. but as we have discussed on this
committee before, at the end of the day, there has to be a political solution. the afghan army, 300,000, however many, doesn't mean much if afghan politics fall apart. afghan politics have fallen apart several times. how is the political effort different this time around? >> congressman, having just returned, i noticed sitting across the table from me in my meetings were new commanders. new ministers of interior and defense, proven people, people that the nato officers said we fought with these guys, it's great to have them in place. when you go down to the core level commanders, these are all proven young officers who have grown up in this fight. they're not holdovers. not kept around from past wars. there's also a -- an effort
under way right now to remove many of the officers who are over the hill, and replace them, give the young officers an opportunity to come up to levels they have demonstrated they can handle this fight. that can only reflect a political reality, because of the nature of that society right now. as you know, it's a society that's been shaken apart since the time of the soviet invasion. it's also a group that now recognizes, they basically have one last shot at this. >> mr. secretary, you have detailed, and the chairman as well, how bringing our advisers down to a lower level will help on the military front. it sounds like the same thing is needed on the political front. how confident -- and i -- i see a lot of nodding heads. how confident are you that our state department can do that? >> congressman, it's not only our state department.
the nato special civilian representative, scr, there and his deputy, and the other diplomats in the town of our framework -- nato framework nations, but also, for example, india. they're all working along these lines. >> i understand that, mr. secretary. but how confident are you that our state department can provide that support? >> i am confident. we get varsity people out there. ambassador bass is coming out of turkey. >> a lot of positions are unfilled right now. we just eliminated the special representative for afghanistan and pakistan. is that helping? >> that has no effect on the intent that you're trying to highlight here. that is where the ambassador and his staff -- that's who does the heavy lifting of that kind of job. we also have other military -- u.s. military officers in their ministries to build bridges across to each -- the various
ministry. we try to get the political concentration of effort, unity of effort we need. >> so are we pushing advisers further down in the same way we are doing on the military side of things? >> i'm confident we will be. we currently are doing that with nato officers inside the ministry offin derriere, ministry of defense and intel agencies. as far as the other ones go, i believe -- let me ask the chairman. he's been there as the commander on the ground in the past. but i will tell you that i've seen a new level of collaboration between chief executive abdullah and president ghani than i have seen in the past. >> the bar is pretty low. but i appreciate that. mr. chairman? >>. >> congressman, i think it's a fair question. and as part of the strategy, the state department is tasked with coming up with a more robust approach. i would reemphasize one point,
and then talk about one that's aspirational. when we knew moving forward we were going to have a new strategy, we needed strong leadership in kabul, ambassador bass was hand-selected, he's got an incredible background and experience in afghanistan and many of us -- many of us spoke to him and encouraged him to accept this service, which is really what he has done. he's accepted this service in kabul for three years. so it starts at the top and i think we have the right diplomat going over to kabul. with regard to your other question, has the advisory effort on the political level been pushed down to where it needs to be? not yet. and that has to be done in order for us to be successful. and i know that's what secretary tillerson's intent is. >> thank you. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you, gentlemen. we are so glad that you're at the helm at this important time in our nation's history. and in the life of afghanistan. i'm so encouraged by a lot of
the changes that you are instigating. i think it makes so much sense to have the strategy be condition-based, not just time-based or number-based. and i've also been encouraged by what you shared earlier about making sure that every dollar that goes there is invested wisely. our oversight investigation subcommittee held a hearing recently dealing with the allegation that the afghanistans bought perhaps wasted $28 million dealing with their camouflage they chose for their uniforms. and i was so encouraged at your memo mr., secretary, saying we bring to light the wasteful practices and making sure everything is looked at. so i'm going to ask a question about another area. and that deals with just the assessment of the afghan security forces. general dunford, you had mentioned -- we talked about 300,000 troops there now. and a lot of changes were taking
place. when i was in afghanistan in 2011, i was struck by what i learned there about the difference in perceptions and the expectations of our military. when we first went over there at the level of their education, level of their abilities, and we thought we were going to begin training at this point, but the reality was, we had to go back here, because of even the literacy rate was such that we had to start teaching them basic literacy before we could get them to this point and move forward. and you said we're going to expand the air force as far as close air support. could you just give a general assessment of where you think they are in their capabilities, where is their literacy rate now? where are the shortfalls in their capabilities? where are their -- where are they in building the air force and the close air support that we feel like they need? >> sure, congresswoman. let me start with the air force. so when you were there in 2011,
i think they had a couple of small helicopters, md-530s, and a total of five mi-35s on any given day. they might have been able to get one in the air. today they have fielded a-29 aircraft. they have fielded i think on the order of about 20 md-530s, small attack helicopters with a plan to increase more. and we're in the process of transitioning from mi-127s to uh-60s. the first four were delivered this month. the first two attack versions of the uh-60 will be delivered in january. and between now and the six seven years, we'll completely transition to a helicopter. which combined with the a-29 and the 530. and another called the c-208. so they've got a pretty robust air force that's growing right
now. the most promising area of the air force has been the special mission wing which supports this special operations. and i can tell you from personal experience that the profiles that those pilots are flying are as sophisticated as the profiles that we typically fly on a routine basis. and, again, that's a result of many, many years of training. and this is the cream of the crop. there's no doubt. but there is some room for promise in the afghan air force. i think it's important, when you talk about lessons learned, in 2011, having an accurate assessment of afghan capability. one of the things that the secretary has directs sudden that our advisers are going to be the most mature, most competent, most experienced individuals we have. and so what you'll see are people that have actually been over there before, going back again on a repeated basis. so i would expect the advisers that will go in 2018 will be people who have had experience in afghanistan in the past, and so we'll be starting from a known point in terms of their
appreciation of culture, strengths and weaknesses and so forth and be better advisers. one area i think is significantly different than 2011 is leadership. in 2011, we were still dealing with residual of a soviet-informed army. that type of leadership. this summer alone, as a result of president ghani's decisions, the average age of the core commanders was reduced ten years between last spring and right now. he replaced five of the six core commanders. and so we really are now dealing with a group of individuals that have been trained, organized and equipped and influenced by u.s. and coalition forces for over a decade. the young lieutenants and captains that you met in 2011, those are now the commanders and brigade commanders. and so that's something that takes a long time. we say it takes 25 years to grow a division commander. it takes a long time, but the investment that we have made
bringing afghans to our schools and training them over years now are starting to result in leaders being in the right place. >> very encouraging. thank you. yield back. >> ms. hanabusa. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, general dunford, thank you for being here. secretary mattis, you talked about the new strategy, the r-4 plus s. is that a strategy that you also buy into? is that something you support? the r -- >> absolutely. >> so can you tell me -- understood your description of what regionalizing. but can you tell me what reconciliation means? >> i can. representative. what it means is that the taliban decide to stop killing their fellow countrymen and women, and sit down as some of the small groups have, and start
working with the afghan government. they've got grievances. bring them up through the normal processes that countries have to resolve grievances. but no need for violence. no need to support transnational terrorists. >> so is this sort of linear? in other words, do we have to go through each of the rs to get to the s, which is to sustain? >> no. it's not. it's a great question. we are going to fight and talk at the same time. already some groups have broken with the taliban. furthermore, because the taliban has lost some key leadership, there's internal fighting going on now, which distracts them from working against the afghan government and against our nato forces. our afghan forces. so this is not going to happen in a sequencial linear way. some will peel off early. some will fight to the rugged end. but the bottom line is, we will fight and talk at the same time.
>> so is realign talking about the others? not just -- you're not talking about our troops. when you talk about realign, you're talking about realigning like the other terrorist organizations, other groups? >> no, ma'am. we are talking on the realignment. realigning our forces to the main effort of bringing nato support and make -- to the afghan forces that have not had advisers before. and ensuring that the afghan forces are made more capable to provide for their own defense. >> so the reinforce component of r-3, i think you said. is that that the united states will reinforce by having more troops? >> we will bring in more troops to extend the advisers to the other units that the chairman was saying are not right now getting advisers. but it's also secretary stoltenberg and myself going to other nato and partner nations, nato being the nations there in
europe, partners being ones like georgia, australia. and have them pick up more of the advisory duty, align more of their troops to adviser duty, as well. >> so though we may not have more boots on the ground, so to speak, we do anticipate having more of our advisers or nato advisers in afghanistan in the future. >> yes, ma'am. there will be more boots on the ground. i mean, we are reinforcing. it's not to take over the fighting. it's not to supplant or substitute for the afghan soldiers. it's to make certain that units that never had immediate access to nato air support, intelligence support, this sort of thing, will now have it, making them more effective at fighting. but we're not taking over the fighting. we're enabling them. >> so in your testimony, mr. secretary, you spoke a lot about the taliban and how the -- basically, lack of a better description, how the taliban was such -- doing everything so bad,
and was an evil entity. yet in the testimony of the general, he talks about defeating isis and al qaeda and afghanistan, and to ensure other terrorist groups are unable to launch attacks. and then he ends with something i think you're talking about, when you're talking about reconciliation. and that secretary tillerson has recently outlined his entire effort is intended to put pressure on the taliban and have them understand that they will not win in the battlefield victory, so they will enter an afghan-led peace process to end the conflict. so is that the ultimate goal? that we will do away with the isis and we will do away with al qaeda, but the taliban is viewed almost like our future partner? or the partner in peace in afghanistan? >> as you know, ma'am, the taliban embraced al qaeda, supported them, and refused to break with them even after they
attacked new york city and washington, d.c. so we go after the taliban as providing the structure, so to speak, that other transnational groups have, in fact, used to conduct international attacks. i mean, you know what al qaeda has done. you know what isis has done. in the area. but the bottom line is, we are going to go after al qaeda. we're going to go after isis. and if the taliban wants to break with them and stop killing people and rejoin the political process, then we see reconciliation as the way we will end this war. >> thank you. and i yield back, mr. chair. >> mr. scott. >> thank you, mr. chairman. gentlemen, thank you for being here today. general dunford, you mentioned the a-29 mission. i'm proud to tell you that's moody air force base in valdosta, georgia, in my district. we're happy to have that mission there. hope you will continue to expand it.
and i know that that mission is being utilized for other countries as well as afghanistan. so thank you for your support of that and mentioning it. you've talked briefly about this with general kauffman and widthman and some others. but on page 3 of your testimony, you talk about the decisive point. in moving -- or the new approach that will have our most senior capable and operational experienced leaders advising at the decisive point in afghan operations. can you speak to -- can you give any specific examples of where that has -- that has made the difference? >> absolutely, congressman. when we went through the analysis, the one thing we identified was, afghan units that had coalitional u.s. advisers almost invariably were successful. so we've had -- we call it persistent embedded. meaning they live and eat and they fight with the afghan forces. in support while they're fighting. and that's what the case was
with special operations forces. so that has worked very well. we have not had a commensurate effort with afghan conventional forces. and so when we talk about the decisive point, we are talking about continuing to make sure that at the lowest tactical level, this battalion-like organization of about 1,000 and the conventional forces, we actually have persistent embedded advisers. that is, advisers that are there when they're actually in the fight. and it's worked with special operations. it's worked in our previous experience before we drew down the force. before 2014. when we had a fairly robust advisory effort with afghan forces. and i was in afghanistan during that period of time. they were successful. again, why were they successful? we facilitated the delivery of aviation support. that was number one. and we continued to help them develop their tactics, teaks and procedures and ability to plan, all of which takes time. so they're more improved than they were in 2014.
but i think they still need advisers at that level when they're in the fight. so i think we do have a pretty good body of evidence that indicates this will make a difference. >> if i may, before i yield the remainder of my time, i know that one of the isr platforms that we used in that area, moving toward indicators, j-stars. up to and until a few weeks ago, i would say i was proud to support the air force and the recapitalization of that program. i continue to believe that we need to recapitalize that program. i have concerns about the air force's commitment to that mission at this stage. i look forward to working with both of you to make sure that we maintain the capabilities that the j-stars platform gives us. and i hope that the two of you can support the continued recapitalization of that program. and with that, mr. chairman, i would yield the remainder of my time. gentlemen, i have a tremendous
amount of respect for both of you. thank you for your service. >> mr. carverhall. >> thank you, mr. chair. secretary mattis and general dunford, more than 24,000 u.s. troops have been lost. more than 20,000 wounded. all with a price tag of over $800 billion. i know both of you are all too familiar with these numbers of after 16 years, you are asking the american people to endure more loss of life, more money, and without an expiration date. and for what? secretary mattis, i believe in the strength and capability of our military. i believe we have the most powerful military in the world today. however, i do not know if we have the will to fight this war to the end. because i don't think there will ever be an end to this fight against terror. this is not a war that can only be fought with troops.
we are fighting against not one, but a number of worldwide networks. the american people are tired. our troops are tired. and our allies are tired. i believe the american people deserve to know why additional troops are being sent back to afghanistan. secretary mattis, you have to understand, i have to be able to go back to my district and explain to my constituents why they are sending their sons and daughters to afghanistan once again. secretary mattis, would you say we know who our enemy is? reading over the lessons learned, report by the inspector general report for afghanistan reconstruction, it doesn't seem we knew ourselves or the enemy. for example, we were wasting precious taxpayer money, imposing advanced technology to
an illiterate and uneducated population. without the appropriate training, expecting them to be prepared to fight. according to the same -- in the same report, the u.s. underappreciated key strategic level threats, including the will and ability of the taliban to continue the fight, sustain popular support for the taliban and afghanistan, ininsurgent sanctuary in pakistan, eroding afghan government legitimacy, and corruption in the afghan national defense and security forces. essentially, we didn't know our enemy. have you considered strategic level threats this time around, and if so, what are they? >> congressman, i believe the strategic level threats are the ones we experienced most directly on 9/11. problems in these kinds of areas
do not stay in those areas. in a global risized world, theye out. so the question i always ask myself before i walk into the president's office, if i'm going to recommend that we deploy american troops where they can be killed is does this contribution, does this commitment of our forces, contributing forces of our fight contribute sufficiently to the well-being of the american people that we could lose people as a result. it's got to pass that standard. i think we do know very well who this enemy is. he is an enemy that doesn't wear a uniform. he hides behind women and children. i recognize the difficulty of taking the country further into this war. i first landed in afghanistan in november 16 years ago. so i recognize the challenges you bring up about keeping the
american people motivated and understanding of what this fight is all about. i believe it is necessary to defend what we believe in. and to protect the freedoms we have so the next generation can enjoy them. i don't believe we can ignore this. i think if we leave this region, we leave it at our peril. and i think we have a lot of people, be even with all of the confusion about our strategy over the last several years, when we kept talking about we're leaving, we're leaving, 39 nations out of 50 still stuck with us. i think hoping against home we would come up what they are now enencouraged by, which is this strategy. so we're not alone in this. it would be one of the first messages i would bring to your constituents, congressman. with all respect to your constituents, they need to know we're not alone in this fight. is it tough? was the society of the afghan
people completely shaken apart, torn apart by the soviet invasion? did that open the door for them, what happened here in terms of the society i think you aptly described? yes. but we deal with the ball where it lies right now, sir. we can't wish it away. >> thank you. . >> yes, sir. >> mr. gates. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, i had recent occasion to visit with some of my constituents who had been serving in theater when they returned home at walter reed, and i promised them i would share with you their complete confidence in the president and their complete confidence in your leadership of the department of defense. they were injured in a green on blue circumstance in which they were attempting to give training advice and assistance to the afghan forces. can you speak to any new strategy that we have, any tactics that we have, to ensure that folks who are there
rendering assistance on how to perform the mission don't then put themselves in an unnecessarily vulnerable situation? >> yeah. this is probably one of the most difficult aspects of this war. we all recognize that treachery has been part of warfare since the beginning of time. but this aspect is especially difficult for us to understand or to embrace, and it certainly undercuts the sense of commitment if this is what's going to happen. so let's get down to what are we doing about it. there is a very invasive, counter intelligence program in which we vet the people that we are going to be training. numerous people have been dismissed from the service, from the afghan service, because of it. we also maintain a guardian program, where you have guards on our people who are giving
classes in the event the counter intelligence program, like all of them, can't be perfect. we assume that. we also have a very strong support element there in the afghan government. they recognize that nothing is more corrosive to the support of the american, and the democratic people from europe and other democracies that are part of our 39 nations than this sort of treachery. so it's got our attention. the taliban continue to try to infiltrate their way into the afghan units, and we have been relatively successful at stopping them. but chairman, if there is anything i've not answered, go ahead, please. >> congressman, i would say we had a very high incidence of these in 2012 and 2013. in fact, to the point where i think it's fair to say it threatened the campaign. and the measures that secretary mattis outlined were measures that have now matured over time.
the counter intelligence effort, the training of our people to detect changes and behavior, the people that they're training with. but the thing i believe is the most significant that i just reemphasized that secretary mattis highlighted, is the afghan leadership owns this problem, and they recognize that. they know that our ability to continue to provide the kind of training and support they need is based on them making sure that we -- our people are secure. so will we provide our own -- what the secretary describes as guardian angels. we also rely on the afghan forces to create an environment in which we can get our mission done. and in my judgment, the afghan leaders jumped in, and the reason why we do have some incidents, one is significant and the young folks that you have visited up at walter reed are suffering the consequences of that. but we have driven the level of these types of incidents down to a very low level. and we should recognize it for what it is. it's an enemy tactic designed to erode our will.
and we have got to deal with it as such. >> thank you. and i -- absolutely appreciate the extent to which we have highlighted this as a priority with the afghan government. because that is where we will likely get the intelligence that we need to manipulate myself this risk. another area of feedback we've gotten frequently is that the deployment cycles that people are on can create circumstances where someone goes and has a great relationship with a tribal leader, a partner, but then there out, a new person is in, and this confidence you've spoken of throughout your testimony today can be eroded by some of those cycles. is there any tactical change to that going forward in this new strategy? >> we are trying, congressman, to bring troops back on repeat tours. now, that's -- but that's more of a corporate memory than a personal relationship. and we recognize this challenge. at the same time, we need to keep our troops fresh. it is very wearing, as you know,
to be in a combat zone where you keep your guard up all of the time. and somehow we have to sustain this, and we have a military that is -- has got a pretty wide portfolio right now in terms of threats around the world. so we're trying to maintain a more veteran approach going back in. we're trying to do the kind of things that -- we're putting people into areas they understand inherently, even if they don't know that specific village. in some cases, we're able to get that kind of return actually to the same area again. but that is going to be very challenging as we go forward. so it's more how do we train our forces for it and how do we do the counter intelligence piece that allows for us to be dealing with people who want to work with us. . >> thank you, mr. chairman. i yield back. >> mr. brown. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, gentlemen, for your -- making yourselves available to the house armed services committee.
several weeks ago, president trump outlined in very sketchy format a three-pronged strategy to afghanistan. and i would like to ask you about two of those. one is the time base to conditioned base approach. and the other is deploying advisers down to brigade level. starting with the first, and this is a preparatory question. does the condition-based approach envision or contemplate -- and i'm not asking for a time. i'm asking for, does it contemplate a state where we withdraw all u.s. forces? >> no, it does not. it implies bringing people -- the number of people we have there down based on the standing up of more capability and the maturing of the afghan forces. there could be american advisers there ten years from now. maybe a handful, compared to today. >> okay.
followup. so while the military goal, as i understand it, is to provide that time in space for the afghan government, the afghan army, to establish itself -- so it can provide for its own security, what are the nonmilitary efforts to address the corruption and poor leadership, the eroding security, the economic stagnation, the minimal foreign investment and the soaring unemployment, all of which contribute to a climate in which the taliban and other extremist groups can recruit and then conduct their activities. >> yeah. congressman, the corruption is our way of thinking a strategic vulnerability that has to be addressed. president ghani has got -- has
signed with us a compact of what we are going to do about it. it has to do with control of money. it has to do with who they put into position. there's accountability. they have just put a three-star general in jail to show this is going to the very top. it's not like it's only the little guy who is being scooped up. there's an accountability there that is going to shift the opportunity for this into a penalty box. not an opportunity. we're going to change that. i think on the eroding security, the offensive actions by the enemy have now been pretty much blunted. they're down to isolated ambushes and ieds. some of the ieds are large, high-profile ieds. but they have been unable to sustain the kind of offenses they had last year where they were able to move in large
groups. they understand our rules of change, and we are going to take them out. so they have had to fragment and disaggregate more, which means they can't take over the district and provincial centers that our press was full of stories, how they were proclaiming what they were going to do this year. they have been unable -- they have been unfulfilled what they said they were going to do. it's not that they're not dangerous and it's not that we're not going to have to increase the security there for the afghan people. we will. as far as investment goes, you'll see india, for example, picking up the larger bit of investment. we're going to other nations about the development investments to try to get them to do more. and so far we have had some success in this. we'll see it actually go into action probably by some time late this winter. start seeing it. but we're addressing each of these efforts that you've laid out with -- with benchmarks so that we -- as much as possible
can quantify the progress. you may not be able to quantify everything about it. some of it is subjective. but we're trying to quantify what we're doing in each case so that we do not have a -- we do not have a -- an assumption that things are going to turn out well. we're going to have to make it turn out well. >> if i could just use the rest of my time to make this statement. i visited with ambassador lauren, and while he's got the largest embassy in the world, they're camped out in kabul. you've asked for 4,000-plus more soldiers. they're going to go to the brigade level. you're already stretched too thin with advisers. you're going to go two levels down. you'll be stretched that much further. he's not going to get the force protection that he needs. and while i understand the president's concern about nation-building or trying to build western-style institutions, nobody can help re-establish civil institutions and a regional economy better than the united states. our military is the best in
training foreign militaries, and it's our state department, our usaid that does diplomacy and development better than any other nation. so i would hope that we could see more u.s. involvement in that nonmilitary effort. i yield back, mr. chairman. >> mr. bacon. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i want to thank you both for being here. thank you for your leadership. our country is blessed to have you. general dunford, you commanded forces in afghanistan in 2014. how has your thinking evolved since then, seeing it from your new perspective? >> you know, to be honest with you, congressman, to some extent, we're going back to the future a little bit. when we did the evaluation of 2000, 2013, 2014 about what we would need in a post 2014 environment, we identified the effort necessary for the afghans to be successful. we talked about the capability gaps to include the aviation gap. we have talked about here today. the logistics sustainability that wasn't yet in place. the intelligence capabilities they would need.
and then we made a decision to lift off and provide support at the core level and the institutional level. so we're now having a conversation that's not dissimilar from the conversation we had in 2000, 2013 and '14, which was to be successful, we need to have advisers, the right kind of advisers at the right place. and we had to have sufficient aviation capability until the afghan air force came online. so i am not sure my thinking has changed significantly, so much congressman, as we actually now -- and it's rare that we do -- but we actually now have an opportunity to do something today that is the right thing. >> thank you. you may have touched on this, but with the votes walking in and out, just clarify a point. it is often we think the taliban have nominal control of roughly 40% of afghanistan. is that about an accurate number? >> i think what general nicholson talks about, between
60 and 70%. 10% is approximately contested. so i think it's a bit less than what you describe. but i think that's probably less important than the populated areas. >> right. >> and focus on that. and i think in that regard, the government is probably closer to 70%. and what the goal is for president ghani is to get to at least 80% of the key populated areas in four years, which i believe is attainable. >> that's better than what i was reading. so that's good to hear. secretary mattis, what would be your assessment if we pulled out of afghanistan as some want us to do? what do you think would happen within, say, two years? >> if we pulled out completely? >> yes, sir. >> well, i think we would benefit the taliban greatly, and the taliban have shown that they will permit transnational terrorists, so basically what we
saw on 9/11, i think we could anticipate happening again. >> absolutely. the taliban were allied with al qaeda. would you say they're still allied with al qaeda? >> uh -- >> i know the taliban had been allied with al qaeda. close ties. i think it's fair to say they still have those close ties. >> oh, absolutely. we have encouraged them to break those ties. our argument when we went in was with al qaeda, we encouraged them then to break with al qaeda. we didn't -- they were not a transnational terrorist group, the taliban themselves. but they would refuse to do so. and so they chose to fight. >> one last question. i think our emphasis seems to be on counter insurgency, and also training the afghan forces. what would you say is the percentage of investment or effort that's being put on nation-building versus the counterinsurgency and training aspects? >> well, sir, if nation-building is -- certainly having security
forces and intelligence forces and police forces help -- they set the conditions for a nation to find its footing. they set the conditions for families to raise children, to have to bring in -- to go to farms, to go to jobs, you know, bring jobs in. so in that regard, we're setting the conditions for the afghans to build a nation. in that regard, there are what's called the donor nations. and those -- everything -- they have met several times over the years. they raised money for afghanistan. and countries like japan and afghanistan, so many more, united kingdom, bring the money in for targeted efforts, whether it be to build a road or in order to get products to market, before they spoil. that sort of thing. we're setting the conditions for that sort of thing with the military campaign, the security campaign we're putting together here. >> well, thank you very much. and before i yield, i just want to say i share your assessment.
if we pulled out, we would be back in two or three years having to take out the taliban and al qaeda, and it would be a worse fight. so i applaud the president's strategy, your strategy, to win this. and to keep taliban and al qaeda out of power. so thank you. >> thank you. >> mr. pennetta. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, mr. chairman, thank you for being here. i appreciate that. i appreciate your opportunity -- the opportunity to address you and hear from you and obviously appreciate your candor on these issues. general dunford, you mentioned counterterrorism in the region and what you're doing. i was wondering how much of this is being responded to with special operations forces? obviously right now we have about -- from what i've read, about 8,000 in the world. and what i'm hearing over and over is that the forces are stretched too thin.
is that true? and is that affecting our ability to deal with counterterrorism in afghanistan, and are we still using the element of -- the strategy that i saw there in '07 and '08 where we were finding, fixing, finishing and exploiting. is that still being utilized? >> congressman, the last part of your question is yes. that methodology is still the same methodology that we use to go after the enemy from a ct perspective. and i would say, we have sufficient special operations forces due to the mission today. but the issue you raise is a concern that we are running them too hard, and in some cases, maybe their missions that they are performing that could be done by other forces. and the secretary about four or five months ago, right after he came into office, asked us to make sure that as we were doing global force management, meaning every day looking at the requirements and combatant commanders, number one, we made
sure that only if something required special operations forces would they go to that force. and then we look to backfill certain assignments that were being filled by special operations forces with other capabilities. and for example, this advisory effort, vast majority of the advisers that will be going in as a result of the plan that's been approved by the secretary are conventional forces. the army and the marine corps will provide conventional forces to be able to provide that advisory effort. because we are sensitive to the fact that special operations forces are critical, not only to the counterterrorism fight, but also to the russia, china, iran, north korea fight, as well. and getting the balance right not only from a day-to-day engagement perspective, but making sure that they can train against a full range of missions that special operations require is something we're very sensitive to, congressman. >> understood. back in '07, '08, the fatah -- the federally administered tribal areas to me seemed kind of like the wild west.
and i remember the town of wanna in -- i think it was south waziristan, reminded me of the town of tombstone. is it still like that, and can we be assured that pakistan will be able to control those areas when it comes to breeding grounds for terrorists? >> as you know, congressman, the federally administered tribal area, the northwest frontier, has a long history of discontent, would be a polite way of describing it. but i would also say that sense the partition, it's called the federally administered tribal areas for a reason. in other words, it's not a state. and you understand that it's been an area that's been very hard for pakistan to maintain the same kind of control as it has done in the settled areas, for example. but that said, they have been running some very strong operations up there. they have lost, as you know,
many of their own troops in this fight. and they have just completed one set of operations that moved against the border on several lines of effort. and those obviously had some of the effect of pushing people over into afghanistan -- enemy over there. so three days ago, the chief of army staff from pakistan flew into kabul. and this is the first time i've heard of the visit actually creating some degree of optimism. and so we'll see. we -- there is reason for us to say there is a new day here. but it's too early for me to come in front of this committee and pronounce that with confidence. i will fly into islamabad soon. i will fly in and we will continue to try to work with them cross border operations against what can only be described as our common enemy. we'll see if we can make this
work this time. >> thank you. gentlemen, thank you. mr. chairman, i yield back. thank you. >> mr. banks. >> thank you, mr. chairman. secretary mattis, general dunford, thank you for being here. as an afghanistan war veteran myself, i represent tens of thousands of americans who have served there that want to know that our service and sacrifice meant something. and that's why secretary mattis, i applaud your work and the change of course in afghanistan, why your change in strategy recently brought me great hope and optimism that will turn the tide and fight the war to win it, rather than fight 14 separate one-year wars that have resulted in what we see today. i want to focus first for a moment on the specific mission of c-sticka and the over $70 billion that we have spent in funding. i know you've talked already about the wasted money on uniforms. but every week a different story piles up and a stack of stories that you can find by googling waste in afghanistan from the headlines that i brought with me today.
43% of america's military weapons unaccounted for. afghan forces lost $700 million in u.s. ammo. u.s. unsure if afghan intel service even works, despite half a billion dollars in aid. payroll and construction. you get the point. the list goes on and on and these aren't stories from ten years ago, these are stories from the last couple of years. so my first question is -- i know you've already talked about the general that lessons learned, what are we putting in place within the structure of c sticka, what type of process are we creating to raise the level of accountability on this investment that we're making in the afghan national police and the afghan military? >> congressman's takes great question. about 2012, maybe it was even as early as 2011, in order to develop afghan capacity we started to move money to what we called on budget meaning we gave the money to the afghans for them to manage. the at one point i think we had well over 70% of the money that we were given to the afghan
forces that was on budget. we've actually walked that back now less than 25% of the money is actually administered by the afghan government, 75% is administered to us. and for that 25%, we put in some rigorous conditionality. talk about the lessons learned. rigorous conditionality and president ghani unlike his predecessor has allowed us to get into the ministries where the money is being administered, check the books, be able to do an audit just as we would on our own accounts and i'm confident in telling you this, that the $4 billion plus that we provide to the afghan security forces every year, our commander will have as his executive organization, will have visibility and i expect to be able to come back up to you and talk to you about the transparency and accountability we have over those resources. we have learned some lessons.
one of the more significant ones is that we're now delivering capability if equipment and they're -- they weren't quite ready to execute the entire budget and have the same standards that you suggest -- >> thank you, general. as a follow-up to that. how do we know today more than ever today after supplying 14 years of weapons, ammunition, vehicles, uniforms that we're giving the afghans what they need and not what they want? >> i think that's a constant process, here's what i would tell you is, the glimmers of hope, we bought striker vehicles. those are being employed right there and have provided a competitive advantage to the afghan forces over their counterparts. the aviation enterprise actually is a success story. i think -- i don't know if you've been back recently, i would hope when you go back you can see the afghan air force in particular. so we delivered an a. 29. it's an aircraft that's
relatively simple to learn and fly. we bring the pilots back to moody air force base. they're going back and able to sustain that effort. so i believe right now that the lessons learned over the last few years have highlighted for us what equipment works and what doesn't work and to be honest with you we do need to improve the accountability of equipment, the maintenance procedures and so forth, the scenario that the advisory effort is designed to address as well. >> i have 30 seconds left. i wish i had 30 minutes. but when we talk about rule of law in afghanistan, it seems to me that one of the greatest inhibiters to the rule of law is vice president dosum. what are we doing to preventing him to wreak havoc on the rule of law situation in afghanistan? as he returns to country and returns to his position? >> i think the most important thing is we're reinforcing the positive elements in the country and not leaving them to deal with these kinds of issues that
dosum represents on their own. this is -- we're looking at bringing in army police trainers, not from the u.s. but from those countries to maintain arms so the police themselves are more carefully of carrying out the rule of law. you've got to have the right kind of police force, then you need to have the right kind of courts and again there's nothing easy about it because of what happened at society, what it's been through. i think that the right thing to do is to reinforce the positive side and keep working against those who are disruptive and right now we obviously are trying to work by, with and through the afghan government on it, but we register loud and clear the concern that that is in trying to get the rule of law reduced the corruption and get this country on the right track so we can draw down what we're doing and leave them more on their own. >> thank you.
yield back. >> mr. swazi. >> thank you, mr. chairman. mr. secretary, general dunford, thank you so much for your service. you inspire tremendous confidence. i traveled to afghanistan in april of this year and at the time general nicholson was making his request and logically supporting his request. i supported that effort. with the understanding that those troops would be used for force protection and to replace private contractors. are the troops being used for those purposes? are they being used to implement the strategy to go lower into the brigades. >> both. some will be in force protection of those advisers who are out there and certainly we're going to make certain that where we can bring in an army unit coherent rather than breaking it up and bringing in high paid contractors that was forced by the troop cap and i'm not condemning anyone who did it in the past but it's not the way we want to go.
>> thank you, mr. secretary. the problem of ungoverned areas is a problem on the afghanistani side and other places where the troops would not take offensive action -- more or less wait at checkpoints under the afghan army would do that and there's a problem on the pakistani side. they said they were starting to do more efforts in their ungoverned areas. you've affirmed that today. and you said earlier in your testimony that all six corps are currently an offensive action, they're moving out into this ungoverned areas? >> it does. let me be very specific. it means in each of the core areas they have offensives under way. it doesn't mean everyone is doing that. in some cases they're simply holding their own and the district centers but there are offensive actions in each area in each core area. >> are we encouraging them to move into the ungoverned areas on their side of the border? >> principally we're encouraging them to hold and protect the
populated areas but at the same time i would just -- i was there last thursday and they certainly have offensive actions under way in in a ga har and that's right along the border there. >> another major initiative was to get our air force to train their air force is that happening? >> congressman, it absolutely is. we've talked a lot today about the advisers, we have an equally robust effort with the afghan air force where our very best and brightest airman are over there training with them as well. the key is you hit on really i think one of the key points we wanted to make today is, the ability of the after began ground forces to integrate the afghan air force is the key link. and because we haven't had
advisers down there, they haven't matured as fast as we wan. one the primary outcomes we expect from our changed advisory posture is the afghans being more effective, that is the artillery and air support they need to be successful in their maneuver. >> one thing -- there's a separate question. most americans don't appreciate the difference between these transnational terrorists that operate out of afghanistan that we're trying to on assistantly disrupt and the taliban and how that's a completely different type of terrorist organization. have the rules of engagement changed for the taliban as part of this change in rules of engagement or have they only changed for the multi-national terrorist organizations? >> congressman, when we -- the authority that has been passed down to the commander by the president is that any individual or any group that threatens the afghan government, threatens our
mission, threatens u.s. forces or threatens the coalition can be engaged so it's based on their behavior and what they're doing as opposed to what group they're a part of. >> so our special forces will seek out members of the taliban if we believe they're -- >> our special forces will seek out groups or individuals that are actually threatening the mission or our people. >> okay. thank you very much. i yield back. >> thank you. we have now gone through all of the members who were here at the gavel and we have already held a secretary and the chairman longer than we had intended so what i want to do to wind up is see if the remaining members have one 15 second question that we have not addressed yet and i want to get them all out together and then give the secretary and the chairman a chance to wind this up. ms. chainy did you have something that we have not yet
touched on? you do? 15 seconds. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i'd like to thank both of you for being here. thanks for allowing us to conduct our oversight obligations but mostly thank you for reminding us that we have our own constitutional obligations and that is to support, raise, maintain our armed forces and as often as you can this notion of the bca, the extent to which the bca is damaging us, we're in a position where i'm completely dismayed as a new member of congress at the extent to which there's a agreement about the damage of the bca and people walk away and don't do anything about it and as we come up against to december 8 it is going to be crucial that we take this on. i can assure you both this is something we take seriously. we cannot fulfill our constitutional obligations with the bca in place and i want to thank you for raising it, thank you very much for being here today. that's it, mr. chairman. >> it was great. it was more than 15 seconds but it was good. ms. davis? >> thank you, mr. chairman. really quickly, my question was
partly how do we avoid empowering the factions that grow up out of the voids that are often created as the government begins to take hold and are we at a point that we cannot use quantity as much as a metric but quality? i'm thinking about some of the work that's been done not just in the afghan military but also among the women who are being trained for the afghan police and for other jobs because they seem to have more capability then they're allowed to utilize. that takes security but i'm wondering where we're going with that? >> mr. -- >> briefly, so much of what's being discussed today and the justification for our continued open ended presence in afghanistan centers around it preventing it from being a safe haven for terrorists to launch
attacks against us. the issue is that there is a long list of countries around the world who fall under this category of being a physical safe haven, what to speak of the phenomenon of the internet now making that a physical safe haven is not even required for terrorists to plan and launch an attack on us or on our interests or allies, so my question is a big one and maybe you can follow -- follow up with me but how do you justify the expenditure, the open ended presence, this forever war in afghanistan given the global threat that we're facing both physically and electronically? thank you. >> ms. murphy? >> just very quickly. in president trump's speech in august he stated that one of the core pillars of his south asia strategy is taking a more aggressive approach to managing our relationship with pakistan. we've been paying pakistans
billions and billions of dollars at the same time they're housing the very terrorists we are fighting. our relationship with pakistan is complicated and i think it's important that we understand what pakistan is doing and what they're not doing as it relates to our relationship. that's why i'm planning on introducing some legislation that would get the intel community to account for that. it was an idea that was proposed in the 2009 after pack policy review. my question for you today is to what tools does d.o.d. currently have at its disposal to calibrate our security relationship with pakistan and compel them to act in a way that is helpful rather than harmful to the united states? >> mr. kana. >> thank you. very briefly, i don't know if you had a chance to see the saudi ambassadors op ed, it would be the definition of propaganda and fake news.
if we are going to be involved in yemen against al qaeda that makes complete sense but could you assure the committee and the american people that we will not aid in any way the saudi arabia in its war against -- and the gross human rights violations? >> thank you all for agreeing to do that. >> let me, chairman, take a first stab at this and bring the chairman in wherever he believes i missed something or has more. as far as the buildup of factions, in afghanistan as we get rid of terrorists in certain areas, so long as those factions become ones that are part of the political process, we will not get choosey about which ideas can come forward. that is for the afghan people to
sort out, but i think too that we have seen enough progress in some parts of afghanistan and the younger people are different based upon the education that is now reaching boys and girls, which is a big change and i think that we will see the afghan people choosing better which factions hopefully political factions they can support. on quality verse quantity we're also carrying that theme forward. in that regard if a unit is -- cannot fight well, if we find there's too many ghost soldiers, there's no requirement for that unit to be maintained on the rolls. take the good soldiers who are in it, transfer them to an effective leader and unit and go with quality not quantity. about the women they are serving, they continue to go through the training.
obviously there's a cultural aspect to their service. that's a reality everywhere in the world, every nation have its own culture but at the same time we would not be having even the discussion about women serving or reducing the number of afghan units to only the quality ones if we were meeting here ten years ago. so it's somewhat a challenge for us but it's a good challenge to have as we go forward here. on the havens and the concern there, the reason we shifted to a by, with and through global approach to terrorism is exactly what you bring up. we could eventually pour our troops into so many ungoverned spaces, so many havens that we wouldn't have enough troops to go around. so the way we invest our troops is and i can show this to you in private, it's classified for obvious reasons, i can show you what it is we do for every troop
invested how many coalition troops do we have in north africa with us, how many african troops do we have? if you go to somali, i can show you what's going on there. if we go to the korean peninsula, i can show you what 28,000 or whatever it is u.s. troops bring in terms of the 3 million man south korean army. as we look broadly aross the world how do we deal with the geographic havens in a way that we do things by, with and through others. now you make a very good point about the virtual havens, about the internet and this sort of thing. different problem set needs a different response and in that one i think education is one of the most important bull works against this taking over young peoples' hopes and dreams and turning them into what we've seen in various places. i would just tell you that
exchange programs, usaid efforts to keep libraries open, virtual libraries open as we promote ourselves and take our own side in this fight, but i think it's got to be addressed differently and perhaps that's not where the military should have the lead. that's addressed separately. on the pakistan relations and what tools do we have, we have diplomatic tools, diplomatic isolation but more and more nations that are growing -- joining together with secretary tillerson's defeat isis campaign. that man is 69 different nations joined together to fight isis from all around the world plus naturo, european union and interpoll so that we can trace these foreign fighters as they try to go home or move across boundaries, this sort of thing. all of this shows an increasing
alliance against terrorism and any nation that would then support it or be seen to providing havens would be running afoul of basically the most powerful economically and diplomatically militarily powerful nation in the world. we have economic tools from loan guarantees and working with other countries on what access people have with certain banking tools and this sort of thing. as far as yemen goes, we are engaged in antiterrorism campaigns only right now and where we work with the others to reduce civilian casualties and it's to try to drive this or draw this into the u.n. brokered peace negotiations to end the civil war there between the hutis and u.n. recognized and
saudi supported haddhi government. >> splekt, i think you gave a very comprehensive answer to each of those questions. we're all tired. >> mr. secretary, let me just add one final thing back to ms. channey's point. stability of commitment and funding. in addition to stability, kwas is also very important. we were pleased to see the president at the u.n. endorse the funding, the house appropriation and the senate authorization bill. working together i think it's essential that we get that across the finish line so that whether you're the taliban or the russians or the chinese or whoever you know that we're going to stand up and defend ourselves with adequate resources to do so.
>> announcer: defense secretary mattis and joint chiefs of staff chairman general dunford finishing up their testimony before the house armed services committee. the two were on the other side of the capitol this morning also talking about u.s. policy in afghanistan before the senate armed services committee. in just -- >> u.s. strategy in afghanistan and south asia. we welcome secretary mattis and chairman dunford back to the committee. we thank you both for your many years of distinguished service and your leadership of our men and women in uniform. 16 years ago this week, u.s. and coalition forces began combat operations in afghanistan to eliminate the al qaeda terrorists who attacked our nation and removed the taliban regime that gave them sanctuary. very few, few would've predicted that 16 years later we would
still be fighting what is become america's longest war. to date we have achieved our mission to prevent afghanistan from becoming a safe haven for terrorists to attack america or our allies and partners but that success has come at a tremendous price, more than 2,000 americans have given their lives in this war and over 20,000 have been wounded, i repeat over 20,000 have been wounded and while we are still denying safe haven to terrorists in afghanistan, there's no escaping our present reality, secretary mattis and general nicholson have already testified to this committee, america is losing the war in afghanistan. that is unacceptable. much of the responsibility for this failure rests with the prior administration, which was
consistently more interested in leaving afghanistan than succeeding there. as a result for most of the past eight years, our commanders on the ground have had to fight this war with restricted authorities and rules of engagement, insufficient resources, political micromanagement, artificial deadlines for withdraw and a lack of presidential leadership. our troops have fought bravely and honorable but too often it seemed as if they were doing so with one hand tied behind their back. this was the situation that president trump inherited. it was not his doing but it is now his responsibility. when the president announced a new strategy for afghanistan and south asia on august 21st, it came after months of delay and indecision but it was encouraging in some respects. in particular, the president ended the foolish policy of
arbitrary timetables for withdraw and shifted to a condition's based approach. this was a step in the right direction. at the same time, in the six weeks since the president made his announcement, this committee and the congress, more broadly, still does not know many of the crucial details of this strategy. this is totally unacceptable. i repeat, this is totally unacceptable. many members of this committee have been actively involved in the war in afghanistan since it started. a few have even served in the war on active duty. we expect, indeed, we require a regular flow of detailed information about this war. that is not because we want to inhibit our witnesses from doing their jobs, it's because we have to do ours. we have to provide our troops with the vital authorities and resources they need to perform
their mission. that is our separate coequal responsibility under the constitution. and we take our duties as seriously as our witness's take theirs, though i must say it is bizarre that for a hearing of such importance, our witnesses failed to submit written testimony to this committee. we want to be your partners, but this committee will not be a rubber stamp for any policy or president. we must be well informed. we must be convinced of the merits of the administration's actions and unfortunately, we still have far more questions than answers about this new strategy. at the most basic level, we still do not know how the president's new strategy will better enable us to achieve our stated objectives, in short, it
remains unclear why we should be confident that this new strategy could turn the tide in afghanistan or bring us meaningfully closer to success than its failed predecessors. the president said in his speech that quote, conditions on the ground, not arbitrary timetables will guide our strategy from now on, but what are those conditions? the president said that our goal is still, quote, to have a political settlement that includes elements of the taliban, unquote. but we still do not know what kind of settlement the administration seeks -- >> the senate hearing available online, cspan.org. we take you live now to las vegas for an update on sunday's mass shooting. >> on the original portion of